Michael Heggarty: Homelessness in Nevada County

May 15, 2017

“Homelessness is a serious issue that affects the entire community. Since 2009 the Point in Time Homeless Count has averaged about 300 individuals per year. The 2017 count identified 371 people (though the actual number is likely higher), of which 15 percent were children.

Homelessness has profound impacts on the health and safety of those involved, and is often precipitated by problems that are within the power of our community to prevent and treat, such as substance abuse, mental health issues, domestic violence, economic distress and availability of affordable housing. The effects on the community are also significant, including threats to public safety, wildfire danger, the environment, and more.

Although this problem is serious, it is also actionable, and the Nevada County Board of Supervisors prioritized addressing homelessness in its 2017 objectives. The Board placed particular emphasis on moving towards 24/7 shelter operations that support comprehensive services to help transition people to affordable, permanent housing. The Board also emphasized working with other jurisdictions and developers to facilitate development of Housing Element Rezone sites, which will increase the availability of affordable housing.”

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