Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Schwarzenegger, Johnson partner to address homeless issues ~ Sacra Bee

Schwarzenegger, Johnson partner to address homeless issues

Published Wednesday, Mar. 25, 2009

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said today they are working together to address short-term public health and safety issues and long-term solutions for the city's growing homeless population.

"We cannot look away and pretend this is not happening. It is happening, and we must take action," Schwarzenegger said in a joint press conference at Cal Expo.

"We must do all we can to do right by these people, who are living in these difficult times."

Johnson said, with the governor's help, Cal Expo will provide 50 new beds at the winter shelter, which will stay open until July 1. Cal Expo also will provide bins for personal belongings and kennels for 20 pets, and will make accommodations for couples and their children.

Johnson and Schwarzenegger vowed to do something about the longstanding problem of homelessness.

"This was a problem when I came into office. I said we are not going to ignore it any longer," Johnson said. "The city has swept this under the rug, ignored it. We are no longer going to accept that in the city of Sacramento."

The governor said Johnson approached him at an event, saying "one more thing." That led to a breakfast meeting to talk about homelessness, and that led to a tour of Sacramento's tent city encampment.

Schwarzenegger said the campers didn't have drinking water, toilets or wash water. He said homeless people should be treated with dignity and compassion.

"People in America for years have tried to find answers" for dealing with this issue, he said. "Nobody has found the sweet spot."

Johnson praised the combined efforts of government, business, nonprofit and homeless advocates in developing a program in two weeks, culminating in a unanimous City Council vote Tuesday night on a $1 million homeless program.

It will provide 150 beds in Sacramento as a first step in easing the plight of the homeless, whose numbers have been growing with the downturn in the economy.

The city allocated $880,000 in city and redevelopment agency funds for the program, which includes other area shelters and plans for long-term housing. Sacramento County may agree to provide another $150,000 early next month.

The program will enable closure of a tent city along the American River, which gained wide prominence when Oprah Winfrey featured it on her television show.

Homeless advocates have the homeless population in the Sacramento area at about 1,200.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073.

Comment:Peta wrote on 03/25/2009 02:34:40 PM:

Hurray for the Governator and Mayor Kevin! The basic survival needs of human beings are: food, clothing, shelter, medical care and quality education. When these needs go unmet there are going to be huge social problems, but there are solutions that can be found if we all have the common decency, honorable humanity and loving compassion for those who need help in their on-going struggles for survival. The homeless people ~ OUR DOMESTIC REFUGEES ~ suffer from the same survival problems that many of us do. When you lose your job it is a 'recession', when I lose my job it is a 'depression'. There is no one single simple solution to our refugee problem, including immigrants who are here inside the USA who are not American citizens. We are ultimately talking about social-humane development in the context of a corporate capitalist high-tech society and we cannot solve all these problems, but we can help and should HELP THE HOMELESS!

Education for Liberation! Join Up!
Peter S. Lopez aka: Peta

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