Homeless aid must continue

The community has a long way to go in addressing homeless crisis

Chico is home to many excellent organizations offering services to the destitute, but there are certain people within the homeless population who, for various reasons, cannot access the Torres Community Shelter. These people include folks who have pets, as well as certain others within the community who have addiction issues and mental illness, for example.

That’s a real problem this time of year, when the weather turns bone-chillingly cold. As reported by Associate Editor Christine G.K. LaPado-Breglia last week (see “Out of the cold,” Newslines, Dec. 12), three people in Santa Clara County succumbed to hypothermia-related causes recently.

People in Chico, too, are at real risk of falling ill or dying due to the elements during these repeated nights of freezing temperatures. Those who live outdoors are an extremely marginalized part of our community, and they need help.

Fortunately, the newly formed Chico Homeless Action Team and the Chico Peace and Justice Center have come to the rescue by opening the center’s doors so that these members of the community have a warm, safe place to spend these frigid nights. More than 20 individuals at a time have sought shelter at the small downtown center during this cold snap, and it’s very likely more will head there as word about the open-door policy spreads.

The good folks behind the effort should be commended for being a stopgap, but the fact that they have to do so shows that our community has a long way to go in helping people attain the services they need to get off the streets. And that’s something to ponder during this season of giving.