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Our View: Now’s the time to find solution for homeless

The Union Editorial Board

Now that the City of Grass Valley has allowed the Hospitality House to keep its Welcome Center on Colfax Avenue open until April 15, it’s time for the community to have a serious discussion about the homeless.

First, the commitment is there to help them. The Hospitality House has brought together a large community of people who want to continue helping them during the winter months. This group includes 25 churches, 300 volunteers and the Nevada County Board of Realtors.

Their efforts should serve as an inspiration and catalyst for all of us.

On the other hand, legitimate concerns have been raised about where to locate the Welcome Center, which is where the homeless gather before they are taken to a church for the night during the winter months.

If business owners and their customers or homeowners don’t feel safe when they see a group of people they don’t know gathering in their neighborhood, the city needs to respect and address those concerns.

So where does this leave us?

It seems we all benefit from having a homeless shelter, especially those who are concerned about the impacts on businesses. If they do not have a place to go each night, they’re going to sleep somewhere. It might be behind a downtown business or in an alley in a residential area.

People who don’t get help have a tendency to get frustrated and even angry, which can pose a greater threat to public safety and possibly a more random one. If they wind up in our overcrowded jail or being processed by our overburdened court system, they will add costs to budgets that are already pushed to the limit.

We also have to acknowledge that not every person who is homeless has been negligent or has self-inflicted problems. At this time, many people could find themselves in trouble overnight if they lose their job or some other misfortune strikes.

So to ignore the problem will in the long run only make it worse for everyone and that is simply not acceptable.


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