As You See It, Jan. 13, 2012: Dispelling myths about homeless

Dispelling myths about homeless

Several recent letters to the editor criticize Mayor Lane's call to build new permanent housing for homeless individuals. The writers repeat the myth that the homeless are not really from Santa Cruz -- they are only here because homeless services draw them here. This myth ignores the fact that a comprehensive census and survey of the homeless done in 2011 by ASR, a respected research firm, found that 67 percent of the 2,771 homeless individuals counted were from Santa Cruz County. And how does this myth explain the fact that the 2,771 was an increase of 38 percent from 2009 during a period when funding for homeless services was being cut? It doesn't make sense.

Whatever our personal reasons may be, we all share the desire to see the number of homeless on our streets reduced.

I think we should thank Mayor Lane for proposing something that could help accomplish that.

Paul O'Brien, Ben Lomond