How do homeless services reach the needy in the lower Russian River? | Sonoma West Times And News – California News

How do homeless services reach the needy in the lower Russian River? | Sonoma West Times And News – California News

Hopkins hosting meeting Aug. 23

No public issue draws more teeth-gnashing public debate along the lower Russian River than the question of help for the homeless. How much is too much? Or not enough?

According to a recent study, homelessness is decreasing countywide, but increasing along the river.

Does the promise of free food, shelter and health care encourage people to come here and stay homeless? Or is charity and compassion the least we can do to help the needy?

Available help has grown over the last 40 years for the homeless in the lower Russian River area to include everything from food and winter shelter to medical and dental care, mental health counseling, substance abuse programs and more. Plans are on the table now to spend $750,000 over the next year to deal with the needs of the lower river’s homeless population.

Fifth District County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins will convene a meeting on August 23 on possible ways to spend the $750,000 on housing and services to help the lower Russian River, and that’s just for the short term.

“I’ve basically invited every group we know of actively working on homelessness,” in the lower Russian River area, said Hopkins.

Invited attendees include law enforcement, fire and special district representatives, nonprofit organizations and community groups.

County government representatives will be there too, providing support and guidance, but grassroots community input is the main focus, said Hopkins.

“The idea is to get together a citizens’ task force of people who have expressed…

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