Harry Blumenthal’s My Word on 12/26/12, “Plight of homeless cannot be ignored”, makes good hyperbole but short on facts. His statement that “There was not a peep of concern from the (Eureka) City Council or the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors” regarding the homeless is his opinion which does not seem to be based on any fact checking or effort to find out the truth.
His singling out Eureka City Council while ignoring any reference to Arcata shows a bias. Was it not cold in Arcata? And are the homeless only in Eureka?
Anyone who attends or watches the Board of Supervisor and Eureka City Council meetings knows that the City of Eureka does indeed offer emergency shelter options in winter. There is the Rescue Mission for one and during the winter months, the Eureka Rescue Mission Men's Shelter does not use the alcohol breathalyzer so services depend on how much room they have for the night. They have used every available space in the facility in the winter; even the St. Vincent facility. Religious services are optional not mandatory. Despite these facts, misinformation continues to be and spoken.
The County offers many services like vouchers. The City of Eureka offers services by partnering with private and non-profit organizations. Mr. Blumenthal would know about more services if he talked to Pamlyn Millsap, EPD liaison to the homeless community or by talking to Fox Olson who is the co-chair of the Humboldt Housing and Homelessness Coalition.
The City and the Eureka Chamber of Commerce have given funds to individuals and non-profits working with the homeless. The fact that Mr. Blumenthal selectively choses to focus on certain individuals on Eureka City Council and the Board of Supervisors shows his bias.
The word homeless has many definitions and many circumstances. You can be couch surfing, living with friends, waiting for housing to come through or literally be on the streets. There are landlords who work with people to make payments and who offer people payment options to keep them off the streets. There are business owners who privately and quietly donate to many organizations trying to help the less unfortunate.
Mr. Blumenthal wants to help “these people” but with other people’s money, whether it be the rich or the government. If he really understands their plight, perhaps he could get involved on the state and local level to get rid of bureaucratic red tape and laws that prevent people from moving out of poverty into independence. Or attend any of the above meetings with a donation that may ease the suffering of someone, for a day or month.
The tired old charge that certain officials are funded by the wealthy could be leveled against any official. To sensationalize the death of an individual while taking cheap political shots is not helping the homeless. Mr. Blumenthal can start taking responsibility by educating himself on Eureka services before he calls anyone else out on their lack of action.