Volunteer groups help with homeless problem

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Illustration by Liz Coffee

Illustration by Liz Coffee

Homelessness has been a prominent issue in Chico for years.

There have been several efforts made by the city of Chico and by outside organizations to reduce the number of homeless individuals living on the streets of Chico.

The Sit and Lie ordinance, which came into effect last year, prohibits people from sitting or lying on Chico sidewalks next to commercial property between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Those who are cited under the ordinance are given a fine that increases with every violation the individual receives.

The ordinance was an effort made by the city to reduce the number of homeless people blocking businesses, at least during the day.

However, the bill has been less than effective.

Whoever came up with the idea of fining homeless people must have forgotten that homeless people typically don’t have the money to afford to pay rent, let alone pay a fine.

Thus, the Sit and Lie ordinance was a bust.

There are multiple shelters in Chico available for transients and the homeless.

However, there is one problem with these shelters: they’re dry.

Meaning that alcohol or drugs are prohibited.

Pets are also prohibited at shelters.

And so are cans, which many homeless individuals rely on for the recycling money.

So what?

Why should the homeless have a place to say if they are coked out on drugs?

Because it’s the human thing to do.

Regardless of the way people feel about drug or alcohol use, the answer is not to leave the homeless on the street and refuse to give them help.

That’s why Brad Montgomery, the director of the Torres Shelter, is vying for a new Homeless shelter that would be open to transients with drugs and alcohol in their system.

But it’s not going to be done anytime soon.

So groups like the Christbridge Ministry are the answer to the “homeless problem” — for now.

The group cleans up homeless camps around Chico in order to lessen the negative impact on the community.

Chico residents must be willing to volunteer time and effort if they want the homeless situation to change.

Change doesn’t happen over night.

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