Pulse of Concord

Pulse of Concord — Questions of and about the homeless

Concord forum examines complexities of homelessness, mental health services
Homeless camp near Buchanan Air Field in Concord. (Pete Cruz photo)

Pulse of ConcordCONCORD, CA — There is not a homeless problem. There are many problems so forget the idea that there is ‘a’ problem.

The current survey: Pulse of Concord deals with a few Homeless questions but there are many more aspects not only of what the sheltered think in regard to the homeless but trying to get a better understanding of them as people. Here are the questions that are asked in the Survey and PLEASE take it:

  1. Should homeless encampments be allowed in public parks?
  2. Should homeless encampments be allowed under bridges and/or along creek/stream/river beds?
  3. Should the city provide porta-potties for homeless encampments?
  4. Should the city provide garbage service for homeless encampments?
  5. Should the city provide structured campsites for people experiencing homelessness?
  6. Do you believe that if Concord provides more services for people experiencing homelessness, that more unhoused people will come to Concord?

Digging deeper

These questions touch in a general manner and leads to questions like: if people want homeless living in parks then which one(s). If not in parks then where? If you are to provide garbage pick ups and porta-potties then where are they to be provided if there are not stable locations? If put in an area will they attract homeless? If there is a stable location who is going to be responsible for security, safety and health? How many should be in a single location and what are the screening techniques and what do you do with those that do not meet the screening.

Ask yourself this: 100 homeless people in a single location a major portion with mental illness, addiction, PTSD (after all living on the streets for years seems like an ideal situation for PTSD), etc. What could go wrong?

Trying to find paths out of their situations also rests with those willing to take the path. I am glad to report some recent success from CORE where a runaway kid was reunited with family and another was sent to a supporting friends in another state. Sadly there are also those that refuse help for now. For example we now have a $1400 Stimulus program for ALL, which takes just a little effort with help from the services to get for the unsheltered who are eligible and yes I will use the word ‘entitled’ to, yet just this week an individual I spoke to just refused. You have to simply keep going in engagement sometimes year after year.

Who are the homeless?

Another confounding aspect we need to question for ourselves: who are the homeless that the public is most concerned about. So far the answer would appear to be those that you see roaming around with a stolen shopping cart or some carriage with the piles of their possessions, or those camping in sight. Yet those are typically the most difficult to get on a path. There are many more who do not want to be seen or if you saw them you would not say they were homeless and they are maybe the most successful transition candidates. CORE has a tough job and privacy rules sometimes prevent them from sharing their successes which are out there.

So please help with this set of questions at www.PulseOfConcord.com and let us see what it leads to in a future follow up of the next set of questions.

The views contained herein *(or is there above) are the views and ramblings of Edi Birsan personally and not to be confused with the press releases of any organization or dis-organization or un-organization. Email him at EdiBirsan@gmail.com.