Scottie Hart: Tom is right; so what will we do about homelessness? | TheUnion.com

Scottie Hart: Tom is right; so what will we do about homelessness?

Regarding the "Other Voices", "Give us shelter, please," Tom Durkin is right when he reports his experience that there is effectively no affordable housing in western Nevada County: "The so-called safety net is failing scores and scores of homeless folk in Nevada County."

How do I know?

A beloved, respected, long-term friend of mine recently survived the trial Tom is trapped in. Diligent working history, educated, bright, good local references, 800-plus credit rating, savvy networker with extensive local contacts. Despite diminishing physical abilities and a psychiatric history, any landlord would be lucky to have her ("a near-perfect candidate") as a tenant.

She badly needed a home. With low income, trapped in a small, worn motor home (desperately cold in winter, way too hot in summer, with no spot where an aging body could be genuinely comfortable), unable to afford space rent, she felt blessed by a temporary (illegal) parking spot on a friend's rural property. Despite moments of real despair, she remained resiliently hopeful.

I am lucky to have her as a friend because she opened my eyes to what my neighbors in Grass Valley are experiencing. Feeling fairly secure in my middle-class, retired bubble, it horrified me to see her situation. I had long been concerned about homelessness; watching her struggle at close range, I was outraged.

Tom is right. So, what are we gonna do about it?

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Scottie Hart

Grass Valley