Speaking up for the voiceless

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Illustration by Liz Coffee

Illustration by Liz Coffee

The homeless population is considered a lot of things in Chico: a problem by business owners, a hassle for the city and even a concern for parents.

Very rarely do you hear the homeless population considered as a community.

However, that’s exactly what it is and that is exactly how we need to start treating the homeless men and women on our streets.

The new ordinance put in effect to arrest all homeless individuals downtown who are loitering is equivalent to sweeping the problem under the rug— temporarily.

In no way does this order help the individuals on the street, only the people who are “affected” by those homeless individuals.

In order for the homeless community to really benefit, there needs to be more in effect that benefits them— that aids them in rehabilitation or back into the real world.

So a homeless person gets arrested. Then what? They are released and hopefully the fear of going back to Butte County Jail keeps them off the streets again?

What about actually aiding them? Why is it so difficult to find a reformation where these people can find a better path to take.

The city just approved a project in which donation meters installed downtown will benefit local shelters, but it didn’t discuss how to get the homeless community into these shelters.

Because the only shelter in Chico requires individuals to pass a drug test upon entrance, the actual amount of homeless men and women that utilize the shelter services are very slim.

The homeless community needs advocates to speak up during these city council meetings when these ordinances are being discussed.

If students and citizens and people take the opportunity to stand up with and for their fellow humans, and find a way for those who are struggling to recover, it is the duty of the city council seats to listen.



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