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What is Eureka's Homelessness Plan?



Required for some funding, Eureka needs to finish its Housing Element. The current draft contains innovative approaches for housing, big projects and tiny ones. The approach for homelessness needs work.

The draft identifies Housing First as one strategy, not as the adopted policy for addressing homelessness ("The Jury is In," Aug. 22). The Housing First approach came from people's stated desire for a place to live. It is an offer to live in a place under basic tenancy rules. Participation in services is offered, not required. At the core, it is about choices. Shelters and program-based housing, needed and chosen by some, will continue.

In 2016, Eureka and the county adopted Housing First as policy and the Homeless Strategy and Implementation Plan, phase 1. It's past time for phase 2.

At strategic visioning meetings in April, council and staff identified "Re-design Homeless Master Strategy" as one of 10 2019 priorities.

The draft element does not mention city code allowing camping in designated areas. It does not mention Eureka's shelter crisis declaration provides liability protection when relaxing housing, health or safety standards at specific sites. Nor does it mention that the Eureka Action Agenda 2014 included finding a camp location in its "Homeless Strategy and Action Plan."

The current draft element includes implementation measure Imp H-27: Update Eureka's Homeless Strategy. It says: "Looking forward over the 2019 to 2027 planning horizon, the city needs a homelessness strategic plan ... The city will produce and adopt ... The timeframe: 2021-2022." And in the meantime?

Please encourage the council to recommitment to Housing First, and commit to use EMC§93.02 and the shelter crisis declaration to find a place for people to live as the housing shortage is addressed. Housing Element study session: October 23, 5:30 p.m., at city hall. Council contact information at www.ci.eureka.ca.gov/council/.

Janelle Egger, Fortuna

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