Friendship is good

Recent news reports that Sacramento Loaves & Fishes is planning to replace the currently well-loved, well-used and, admittedly, a bit rundown Friendship Park with a larger and upgraded facility on its property have caused more than a bit of discussion among neighbors.

The city and businesses have been working diligently to turn the Township Nine area into the sort of mixed-use hot spot that Midtown and parts of downtown have become. We appreciate the hard work and dedication to revitalizing the near north side and Richards Boulevard areas, but we have a question to ask those who resist any expansion of services for homeless people in the area:

Where do you think these people will go if the services aren’t available? Or, more to the point, if service providers in the area aren’t allowed to expand to meet the rising demand for services?

We are now five years past the lights and cameras since Oprah Winfrey’s program focused on the homeless in Sacramento and since Safe Ground was formed to seek a way to provide temporary housing and get homeless people off the streets. We are, unfortunately, no closer to a solution.

At the very least, Loaves & Fishes offers food, showers, access to services and a safe, clean place to be for people who risk arrest just for sitting down. We support their plans to upgrade Friendship Park.

But the real solution? That’s going to be an effective long-term plan to address homelessness in Sacramento, one that local officials and business leaders put their backs into after the cameras have been turned off and the TV personalities have gone home.