Pulse of Concord

Scratching the surface of thoughts about the homeless

Pulse of ConcordCONCORD, CA (May 18, 2023) — The Pulse of Concord is asking about some aspects related to the homeless/unsheltered as well as how people are feeling in general.
Here is a short summary of a few of the results so far.

Q. Do you support people living in vehicles (cars/RVs/vans) to park in a church-type facility nearest to you?
26%, Yes, as many as the facility wants.
5%, Yes, up to 12.
12%, Yes, not more than 6.
18%, Not sure.
17%, No.
17%, No way.
0%, Do not care.
6%, Too complicated as everything is unique.
That makes 43% OK with the basic concept, which is not what one might have thought. There have been attempts to encourage religious locations to get involved with this in Concord, but so far only nibbling around the idea.
The Homeless Strategic Plan Working Group may be looking at this aspect. They meet at 6 p.m. the fourth Monday at the Senior Center at Baldwin Park. Would be interesting to hear from people involved with such facilities to talk to their fellow parishioners and preachers about it.

Q. Should homeless people who refuse to accept emergency shelter or placement be allowed to camp out in the parks or any public space?
4%, Strongly agree.
3%, Agree.
3%, Neither agree nor disagree.
23%, Disagree.
54%, Strongly disagree.
9%, Too complex of a question.
5 %, Other, echoing too complex or trying to approach resources for rehab and mental health.
There is a growing argument that the highest visible homeless to the average resident in Concord is in this category. There is a much larger group of unsheltered who are not seen when simply driving around the major roadways.
Visibility is a major factor that underlines the frustration residents feel in dealing with the homeless. Like many social issues, invisibility can hide the shortcomings of our world view.

Q. How much should the city government spend on average on the homeless in Concord?
3%, $50,000 or more a year per person.
4%, $36,000 to $49,999.
3%, $25,000 to $35,999.
8%, $10,000 to 24,000.
3%, $5,000 to 9,999.
15%, Less than $5,000.
14%, None.
20%, Too complicated.
32%, Wish it were that simple.
Even if money was easily printed in Concord, it really is simply too complicated.

Q. Do you believe things will be better next year in your city than this year?
4%, Strongly agree.
18%, Agree.
45%, Maybe.
14%, Disagree.
6%, Strongly disagree.
13%, My crystal ball and spirit animal are broken. No clue.
When asked the same thing but about the whole Bay Area, the results showed a shift of about 10% from “maybe” to “disagree” and “strongly disagree.” So, while uncertainty seems to be the trend after going through the shock of a pandemic, the view appears to be more negative toward the outside than the home city. One for the home team? Maybe not:

Q. Do I and those in my household feel less safe than last year?
14%, Strongly agree.
29%, Agree.
25%, Neither agree nor disagree.
15%, Disagree.
9%, Strongly disagree.
8%, Toss-up between conflicting feelings.

Edi Birsan is a member of the Concord City Council. However, opinions expressed in this column are his alone and do not reflect those of the city. If you want
more information, write to EdiBirsan@gmail.com. Take the survey at www.PulseOfConcord.com.