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The Rise of Homelessness and the Decline of a Workforce

by M. Ables
Almost every business is hiring and workers are needed but the lack of affordable housing is decreasing. The wealth inequality gap is growing and homelessness is on the rise. There is a connection, so why isn't Sonoma County taking immediate action to do more for 2,600+ homeless individuals in need?
Wildfires, pandemics, and homelessness have made Sonoma County one of the highest ranked counties for homelessness in California per capita. There are over 2,600 individuals without shelter in 2021. The Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25 states:
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
The Government and the structure of our economy allows for privatization of public commodities. This has made basic human rights for shelter, food, and water to be treated as a privilege rather than a right to survival. It has become quite clear that profit over humanity has taken ahold of our nation and state. The housing first approach needs to be implemented immediately to remedy the homelessness issues Sonoma County is facing. Fears of more homeless migrating to California has long been a dramatic tale that steers the public away from taking any action and holding The County responsible for going beyond proposed planning and funding the issues. Complaints of a nonexistent workforce can be remedied with a housing first approach as there are willing individuals who have been priced out of their homes being forced onto the streets. The homeless population can integrate into a workforce once a roof has been put over their heads. County wide rent caps in California need to be mandatory or else the problem will continue to evolve as the landowning and the wealthy out price and diminish everyone else furthering the wealth inequality gap.

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