Sacramento is dying, people are suffering. Homeless individuals are freezing to death in the winter and dying in the heat of California Summers. They need a place to stay to get out of the elements. They need a shelter model that has been tested and proven to work in relieving suffering. A shelter that has all necessary services for providing the opportunity for a better life all co-located on one site. A site in which those suffering from homelessness sleep at night can work though programs during the day. A site that has a place for their animals and provides drug and alcohol counseling, credit counseling, job and skill training, veteran services, legal services, and many more opportunities that help those suffering from homelessness become not just housed, but eventually find a place to call home permanently.
The simple fact is that our current approach to solving "Homelessness" is not working. There is deep and increasing pain, both amongst homeless individuals and in the community at large. There is no reason to believe that we will get a different outcome from continuing the same way of doing things. It has gotten so bad that a UN Special Rapporteur surveying the scene in person has compared the living conditions in California homeless encampments to those of a refugee camp in the developing world.
The problem is not with funding levels, but is instead with the mass of interlinked and discredited policies that direct our current actions. Policies like Housing First, and the push for scattered low-barrier shelters use scarce resource in a tragically unproductive manner. Failure to enforce existing laws not only promotes further social ills, it also imposes the equivalent of a tax on the community as a whole in ways from losses to crime to feces on the street. The results of current policy not only yields a terrible quality of life for those suffering from Homelessness, it also exposes the wider community to diseases from unsafe levels of E-coli in the river to the threat of medieval diseases like Typhus and Plague spreading to the rest of the population.
There is, however, a different approach, one that works: Haven for Hope. This model has over a decade of proven success in San Antonio, and has been taken up in other communities as well across the country. Statistically, the Haven for Hope model works incredibly well, not just warehousing people and prolonging the pain, but getting to root causes and solving issues, one individual victory at a time. A Haven for Hope model is not about spending more money, it is about spending existing funds more wisely so that we get a more effective outcome.
The goal of Hope for Sacramento is to turn our community from continuing to spend ever more money on this bundle of dysfunctional, deadly, inhumane, and evil policies, and instead to move to a model that works, and to do so as soon as possible. Neither the Homeless, or our community, can wait to stop this criminal waste of taxpayer dollars that is causing those suffering from homelessness and those living in the city housed to suffer more.