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Jared Asch and Fairfield Councilmember Rick Vaccaro Discuss the JPA Homeless Initiative

From episode: Fairfield Councilmember Rick Vaccaro homelessness initiative with Jared Asch - EPISODE 09

From Jared Asch "I want to pivot to more about this homeless initiative. You guys are working on the JPA, right? Talk about some of the specific steps or actions you guys are looking to take to solve a problem, right?"

This blog post is written by AI via a transcript from the Capstone Conversation podcast and contains errors.

From Councilmember Vaccaro Well, first of all, I don't think, I don't think the problem will ever be solved. I think you just have to try to work on it and work with it. I think one thing we're really trying to do is get more outreach into the encampments and get more mental health workers out there. I think it's an artwork to figure it out, I know some of my colleagues on the JPA feel the same way. Look not everybody who's homeless wants to come into a shelter. They like the freedom. They like the lifestyle. They like the fact that they didn't have the answer to anybody. I think that's why it's really important for us to go into those encampments and say, hey, if you did come to the shelter you can if you did come to our navigation center and maybe we can educate you more on why this is a good idea to maybe be here and maybe help you get a job or get you permanent housing.

I think, one of the big issues is a lack of education. I was just at the California League of Cities for three days. I sat in on a session that the city of Rialto did on how they're working on their homeless issue. They are building a navigation center. It's exactly that where they're going out and they're talking to talking to these people and saying, Hey, well, how can we help you? We're not forcing you to do anything, but how can we help you? I think that's the key. I understand the frustration of a lot of, our citizens who want to just go in and sweep everything up and say, get rid of these shelters, we don't care where they go, drop them off in the next city. Which was ironic because I think that used to happen in some Fairfield.

Another thing is our navigation center, shelter, salon, and we have to get that going as far as, you know, truly being in a navigation center where people can come in and when you can help them, maybe they're the next steps in their lives. Because if you just have a day center where people are just dropping in and that's fine, I think that's great. Dropping in and then leaving. Then maybe you won't see it for three or four days. The shelter that I saw down in Placentia, which I think I would love to do is where that's where they live and they have their space, they could go out and work, but they have to be back at 6'clock every night. It was 98 people in there and there were only two empty beds. It was very consistent. So, that's one thing I think we have to work on, getting a navigation center now.

I think that one of my goals is to try to work with all the different shelters in Solano County, not just the big navigation centers, there are other smaller shelters, but the problem with that is that the funding for those is harder to get than the big, the bigger shelters. So yeah, that's something that it's not going to be, it's not an easy road. Solano County is sort of the big kind of umbrella, right? That has all the, has all the resources, but we can't just count on them to do it. To do everything we can, we try to get them to do as much as possible. So I think that's the dance you do or that political dance, right? Where it's like, Hey, can you guys help us? How can we, how can we work together? I think we're making strides right now. Not as fast as I'd like, I'll be honest with you, but, I get impatient. So I'd like to see a little more movement.

From Jared Asch "As it's, like you said, it's not going to be ever totally solved, but as long as you could take incremental steps, so every six months a year, the problem has, arguably gotten out of hand. So how do we help get those people benefits? There's been a big issue with Federal District Nine in the courts where on these homeless encampments can't be broken down, and I think they just came out this week where they qualified some language that they had previously used, so it'll be interesting to see us now, as the lawyer read through that.

From Vaccaro, I'm not a lawyer and I'm not a homelessness expert on this court case. But I think they were saying if you're offering the people the education and the opportunity to go somewhere and they're still refusing it, then you might have the ability to help clean up their area and move them to a safer area where for the last three or four years, that's just been banned. I don't know if you're following that at all. Yeah, I think you're, that's a hundred percent right. Yeah. I think that I have, from what I understand, I know this is on the books for a little bit to where if you have the space for these people and they refuse. Then you can say, well, then you have to go. I think that you still need to do that outreach, you know, you still can't, you still can't just say, Hey, we have a shelter, we have a bed for you, you coming or not, right? Maybe you say, no, then get out of here. To me, it's like, if you have somebody who's in an encampment and they're from Tucson, Arizona, going to throw that out there. You work with that person and maybe you say, Hey, how would you like to go back home, maybe we can reunite with a family member and that does happen. I can see that happening more, but you're right though, that the ninth circuit, that was the Boise rule. That was, we're all real familiar with that. We definitely need some teeth. I think that if that's going to be the case, and I think it is the case where we can say, okay, we have a bed for you, say somebody's just being really belligerent about it. That's a different story, but I think somebody clearly has some mental health issues and physical issues. You have to work with those people and get them help.


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