Homelessness is out of control in Santa Clara County. Addressing homelessness is the responsibility of the County and it is tied to other issues like mental health, substance abuse, and criminal justice – all county responsibilities.
It’s time to change our approach:
First: Santa Clara County needs to join San Francisco, Los Angeles, and nearly two dozen other California counties and implement Laura’s Law, a state law which allows local courts to compel dangerous individuals to mental health treatment when they pose a threat to themselves or others.
Second: We need a County Residents’ Bill of Rights: Public sanitation, clean sidewalks, clean underpasses, clean creeks, clean parks, clean trails, and no public camping. All county residents deserve the same standard of public facilities as wealthy communities. It is critical to protect all neighborhoods equally.
Third: We need to operate with compassion: we will shelter and feed anyone in need. But we will insist that they get clean – no drug or alcohol abuse – and we will help them with that too.
Fourth: Every person needs a purpose. People on the street could be doing something to move our community forward, from cleaning, to cooking, to construction work. Let’s help them find dignity while transitioning back into society and fixing what is broken within them. While many in our community have disabilities which prevent them from working full-time, they can make some contribution. We must insist on it. The old saying is true: “the best welfare program is a job.”
Join me as we change our approach, restore core services, and repair broken lives.