The best way to count homeless Americans is to open a government office to help them. Offering them a chance to come into contact, you can find them. Then rent money is needed.
Ignoring this national crisis, choosing not to help Americans who have no shelter, remains cruel. Just now, the bitter cold is life threatening. All America’s human protective services are failing without shelter. Children, families, disabled persons, the elderly and those with tragic bad luck are no longer protected by designated government services if they have no shelter.
Police have no helping place to take the homeless. The homeless are not safe. They are the most preyed upon citizens in our community. Yet, there is no one else to call. Acting out mentally ill persons who are homeless are a major burden to police, and yet the police no longer have back-up with the mental health system. Mental health has no shelter most of the time.
In Eugene, CAHOOTS has no place to take the homeless for shelter or security. Our new governor, Tina Kotek, calls homelessness a crisis. And it is too big a crisis for states to handle without massive federal help.
It is way past time for federal help.
Jerry Smith, MSW
Retired volunteer in Eugene