So many different issues leak from the homeless issue that it can be difficult to determine which path to solve the community challenge is the right one.
Give credit to the Pendleton City Council, though, for at least making a good-faith attempt to tackle the problem.
During last week’s city council meeting, the council discussed the issue during a workshop and while not much in terms of a concrete plan surfaced, the fact the local group of elected leaders are trying to seek a solution is good news.
The council conceded homelessness is a problem and they don’t appear to have any real answers. Before we rush to judgement and criticize the council for its inability to develop an answer, its members deserve kudos for at least discussing the issue.
Let’s face it, homelessness is a growing challenge across the West and in Eastern Oregon. Easy answers are hard to come by regarding the issue. No sensible individual wants to deal with the issue in a draconian fashion, but at some point, some type of solution will be needed.
Perhaps it is the construction of a homeless shelter. Perhaps it is searching for more services for those who live on the street. Maybe the answer is a combination of solutions.
Mayor John Turner said during last week’s meeting that Pendleton faces a high rate of homelessness because of services offered by an array of organizations. While Turner may have a point, his answer doesn’t really solve the problem. Why the city is experiencing more homeless is a different question — with a different solution — than what the city is going to do about it.
Which, of course, gets us back to the lingering and realistic view that the homeless problem doesn’t attract an easy fix. The council is pondering a new edict that will repeal the city’s ban on loitering but will add new restrictions on public camping and sleeping on public benches.
The key question is: Will such an ordinance remedy the homeless situation or simply be a band-aid to a problem that continues to expand?
We’re not sure. We hope our elected leaders are not falling into the chasm of “doing something is better than doing nothing.”
The homeless issue deserves careful thought and a prudent plan approached in a methodical manner. A plan that needs to be developed slowly, over the long term, with the goal of creating a permanent fix.
The council, though, deserves praise for making a good-faith attempt to address the issue.