Letters to the Editor, December 4, 2019: Hurry now while supplies last – of life as we know it

Time is running out fast

The latest report on world climate is now even more dire. 

We have only 10-15 years. We must move quickly to wean ourselves from fossil fuels. No time for NIMBYism. 

The TerraGen project to install wind turbine machines is needed. Solar panels are fine as well as conservation, but alone cannot meet our energy needs. 

The concerns about the danger to birds and bats pale in relation to the wholesale loss of species to climate change. 

Yes, TerraGen is a profit making company that also invests in fossil fuels; but it, like other energy companies, see clearly the “writing on the wall.” 

They must start investing in wind and solar if they are to survive.

And, of course, it will be necessary to hook into the existing power grid. That is how our power is distributed.

Some don’t like the fact that these turbines will mar the pristine view. A couple of recent cross-country trips revealed thousands of these turbines as well as large fields of solar panels. 

A trip along the Danube in Germany saw the same. The view was fine and gratifying. Now it is our turn. As the apt saying goes:

THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY

Edward Webb
McKinleyville

Shelter crisis lacks political will

In January 2016, the Eureka City Council declared a Shelter Crisis. In February 2018, the Board of Supervisors declared a Shelter Crisis and formed the Housing Trust Fund and Homelessness Solutions Committee to address the growing homeless problem in Humboldt County. However, the Humboldt County and City of Eureka Joint Homeless Strategy and Implementation Plan that was passed in 2016 adopted the Housing First approach that discouraged pursuing approaches aimed at managing existing problems including creating sanctioned camping areas, safe parking zones, tiny house villages and establishing more public facilities such as bathrooms and storage. As a result, the Board of Supervisors Resolution in establishing the Housing Trust Fund and Homeless Solutions Committee established criteria that ensures that housing funds monies are used to assist the County in meeting its affordable housing goals with an emphasis on “brick and mortar” projects.

However, the Housing First strategy requires an adequate stock of affordable housing which Humboldt County severely lacks. The recommendations for Housing First rely on the existence of interim housing where people could stay until permanent housing is available, but that is in short supply also. Emergency shelters exist, but there are far more homeless than available beds and many homeless have constraints preventing them from using shelters. Until then, our current and future homeless will need somewhere to stay.

The lack of priority by the Board of Supervisors to respond to the Emergency Crisis Declaration is clearly evident. As a result of the resolution criteria placing emphasis on the ”bricks and mortar” projects, the Housing Trust Fund and Homelessness Solutions Committee is fearful that the supervisors will stick to funding only “bricks and mortar” projects despite having created a host of solutions to address the homeless crisis including a Day Center, Safe Parking, Tent Camping, and Tiny House Villages. 

The committee has no power and no teeth to drive its mission. The communication between the committee and the board has occurred in a vacuum and there has not been a single dialogue between the board and the committee. The committee has been turned down by staff to access any current funding in the budget. It has now been asked by staff to propose a new funding source that the board must approve. 

There is no dedicated funding source set aside on a yearly basis to address the ongoing homeless crisis. The board has not put a single dollar into the Housing Trust Fund and has not adopted a single solution for the homeless crisis after establishing this committee almost two years ago.

As long as Humboldt’s affordable housing crisis exists, short-term solutions need to be implemented. Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives (AHHA) and other local advocates recommend safe parking programs, sanctioned camping areas, and tiny home villages. 

The goal is to give the homeless a level of stability by providing a place where they can keep their possessions safe and dry while they get their lives together. It is easier to provide much needed mental health and other services when the homeless live in concentrated areas. These alternatives are quicker and cheaper to implement than constructing new shelters. Programs provide sanitation facilities, toilets, handwashing stations, and dumpsters which reduce the impact of the homeless on the environment.

Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives supports the following Grand Jury Recommendations to address the Shelter Crises Declaration:

The Board of Supervisors update the resolution creating the Housing Trust Fund and Homelessness Solutions Committee to clarify its responsibilities are to address both affordable housing and immediate sheltering projects.

The Board of Supervisors provide an ongoing funding source for the Housing Trust Fund and Homelessness Solutions Committee.

The Board of Supervisors expand the role of the Housing Trust Fund and Homelessness Solutions Committee to more fully include recommending non-brick and mortar projects that include safe parking, sanctioned camps, and tiny house villages.

Winchell Dillenbeck, AHHA boardmember
McKinleyville

 

 

 







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