The most significant aspect of this story—other than the primary tragedy of the two deaths—is how entrenched homeless camps are becoming in our area, which most experts attribute to the concentration of services providing essential domestic service—feeding, showering, hangouts, medical, schooling for children, etc—without a corresponding demand to become involved in the type of services leading to a cessation of the homeless condition—job seeking training, vocational training, substance abuse counseling, etc; which has created an image of Sacramento in the perception of the homeless, particularly those with no inclination to change their condition, to migrate here.
Helping the homeless—and all others less fortunate than we are—is most certainly a mandate each community should undertake, but it is also a mandate each community needs to be involved in with a vigorous effort tying the provision of domestic service to a utilization of reformative service.
The one area where this does not hold true is in the delivery of service to the chronic homeless, where providing housing first—which we support—has been found to be the one step a community can do that really impacts the chronic homeless who have been homeless for so long and become so fundamentally degraded in initiative and responsibility that beginning with the security of housing is really the only program that seems to work for them to begin utilizing reformative service on their own; but for the general homeless who are only recently experiencing hard times and often still retain many attributes of personal responsibility, the tying of the communities help to the homeless helping themselves has to become the mantra.
An excerpt from the latest news on the homeless camp murders.
“Both bodies were found in a well- established homeless camp just south of 47th Avenue and east of the light-rail tracks.
“Earlier this week, police said they were investigating a possible link between the killings. They revealed no more information Friday, including whether they suspect other homeless people could be at risk.
“Any reverberations from the deaths had not made much impact on the homeless population at the city’s north end, where the Loaves & Fishes shelter provides the largest array of homeless services in Sacramento.
“People have heard of the killings and it to some degree has increased their fear,” said Joan Burke, director of advocacy at Loaves & Fishes. “But since they do not know who it was … there hasn’t been a dramatic response to it.”