Homeless problem needs to be addressed

This is a terrible and frightening time to be homeless,
especially in Hollister and San Benito County.
The holiday season is more depressing. The weather has turned
rainy and cold on many days and nearly every night.
There isn’t as much daylight during the 24 hours at this time of
the year
– and now there isn’t any light at the end of the tunnel with
the news that the National Guard Armory at the Hollister Airport
cannot be used to provide shelter to those without a place to
live.
This is a terrible and frightening time to be homeless, especially in Hollister and San Benito County.

The holiday season is more depressing. The weather has turned rainy and cold on many days and nearly every night.

There isn’t as much daylight during the 24 hours at this time of the year – and now there isn’t any light at the end of the tunnel with the news that the National Guard Armory at the Hollister Airport cannot be used to provide shelter to those without a place to live.

Granted, there were problems with that plan. It is too far away from the main part of town. Homeless people usually lack transportation.

Having a homeless shelter near or adjacent to an airport is a safety and security concern in several areas, even at a semi-dormant and basically unsecured airport that unfortunately fits our local facility’s description.

But at least it was a ray of hope. Now it seems there is nowhere to turn for those who are truly in need and their supporters who are showing genuine concern, including Marley Holte’s Community Assistance Program and the good folks at the Salvation Army.

We know there are those who just about sneer at helping the homeless, feeling they deserve what they are getting because of self-induced problems. Some, indeed, fit that description.

But many others are victims of mental illness, abuse, loss of jobs or support – and we all know the high cost of living in this part of the state and country. The saddest cases are the children without a home. Only the worst cynics don’t shiver at the thought of their young faces.

Many critics of helping the homeless doubt the numbers in our county and town. The facts and figures are debatable and hard to accurately track. But everyone agrees that there are many here with no place to go.

Typically, the City of Hollister and County Board of Supervisors are pointing fingers of blame and responsibility at each other for lack of a homeless shelter.

It should stop. There are grants and outside funds to help alleviate the situation and find at least a winter home for our homeless. Perhaps a coalition of church leaders might provide some insight and help.

Gilroy and other neighboring towns and counties have shelters and a system to sustain them. Learn from their plans and efforts.

This problem should be addressed and solved before it worsens.

Just give it a thought as you open your door to the place you and your loved ones can call home.

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