With the failure of Prop 1 to find supporters in Jefferson County, including some within the board of Hospital Commissioners and medical society who can’t seem to make the connection between homelessness and health, the question remains: “How are we going to address the growing issue of homelessness in our county before it overwhelms us?”
Yesterday I talked to one of the local leaders helping run our Food Banks. He said that they are feeding about 250 people a week. Some of these are homeless, some are on the verge of homelessness, perhaps a paycheck away from the streets. I’ve personally talked to a waitress in town with four children who had to choose between feeding them or paying for medical support when they had ear infections. She couldn’t afford to take her sick children to the hospital ER. She was embarrassed about accepting Medicaid. So putting food on the table won out and the children cried for days fighting the infection. This is our town.
I’ve stayed in a hotel in San Francisco, listening to the cries of homeless mentally ill people on the streets below throughout the night. It was like being in Dante’s Seventh Circle of Hell. This is our country.
Somehow, we as a society have to help address this issue and find a way to give these people shelter. They can’t help themselves. They have been trying . If Prop 1 isn’t the answer, then those that voted against it have to come to the table and help us all figure out what the answer really is.
Today, the Seattle Times looked at the problem. It’s immense.