I was disappointed in the response of the Turlock City Council to the approximately $70,000 report commissioned from the Center for Public Policy at California State University, Stanislaus.
The report summarized that collaboration between all organizations interested in providing services to the homeless population is the best way to have a workable long-term solution to this complex set of issues. After receiving this recommendation, three members of the council stated that they would prefer to see this issue handled privately under the direction of a proposed faith-based entity, ignoring the positive long-term contributions of all other proven service providers. Councilwoman Beverly Hatcher acknowledged and encouraged collaboration as summarized in the report.
Homelessness is not a moral, but a social, issue. There are complex social factors involved, such as the high cost of housing, the availability and cost of health care for the uninsured, and low-paying service jobs. In striving to develop the comprehensive system to grapple with the issues of homelessness, the city should facilitate a collaborative effort including all service providers to ensure the maximum benefit for the homeless community and the residents of Turlock.