Seems a sizable load of our “local color” (as the Berkeley brochures would euphemize our street urchin friends) have suddenly got things to do, places to be. Well, at least the latter. As mayor Tom Bates would be happy to tell you, homelessness is way, way down in Berkeley this year compared to last. Before we start fancying our grinning mayor a regular Rudy Giuliani, we might want to explore some slightly less uplifting alternative explanations for this exodus:
Numbers: Chronic homelessness in Berkeley is down 48% since 2007, compared to 18% county-wide. There are a total of 4,341 homeless people in Alameda County right now.
City Officials’ explanation: We have an impressive plate of policy effectiveness to thank. “Quicker and more personalized services,” “supportive housing” and “a more personalized case-worker system” are the terms being tossed. Keep up the hands-on, guys!
Another explanation: The homeless are not homeful; they are hidden. “Hidden homeless” refers to people who are living with family, in motels, or are within a week of eviction, and will probably wind up on the street in a matter of time. The number of hidden homeless has skyrocketed by 168% in the county since 2003, jumping from 1,134 people then to 3,042 now.
Not great. We bet we’ll have our local color back in all its vibrancy not long from now.
Tags:hidden homeless, Homelessness, rudy giuliani, Tom Bates
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