PRESS RELEASE – February 15, 2019 – Beginning in the Fall of 2017, True North’s Local Organizing Committee (LOC) began meeting to search for answers to the critical problem of homelessness in Del Norte County. We hold to the belief that seeing all people, regardless of socio-economic status, as having intrinsic worth and the right to dignity as the essential foundation upon which sustainable solutions to homelessness will be built. After nearly a year of research, local True North grassroots leaders went to meet with local elected officials to present the results of our work and ask them to pass resolutions calling for an end to homelessness in our community. These resolutions also called for recognizing the multifaceted causes of homelessness and the need to recognize that people who happen to be without shelter deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. The Crescent City, City Council and the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously (in the Summer of 2018) to pass these resolutions.
Following that, (in the Fall of 2018) True North leaders hosted a well-attended public forum at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church to present their work and get input from the community at large. As a result, the LOC decided to test out creating a coalition of community stakeholders including: elected officials, healthcare providers, law enforcement, nonprofit organizations, churches, the business community as well as individuals facing homelessness to create a powerful working group to analyze the current situation, approaches and to create effective and sustainable solutions to homelessness in our community. The Del Norte Coalition to End Homelessness met in December of 2018 with some 20 stakeholders and community leaders in attendance. Out of that meeting, a smaller group agreed to form a Design Team in order to craft a more specific pathway for the coalition to move forward. After convening these meetings and analyzing input from the stakeholders involved, we’ve come to the conclusion that it is premature at this time for True North to be involved in facilitating further meetings for a Grand Coalition to address Homelessness in our community.
We hold to the belief that some form of community stakeholder coalition should be formed in order to develop a successful systemic strategy to address homelessness in Del Norte County and that conforms to the needs, resources and values of the people who live here, both housed and un-housed. We encourage our elected officials and community leaders to work together in a creative and substantive manner to move beyond managing homelessness to (functionally) ending homelessness and we will continue to seek ways to support these efforts. We also believe (at this time) that True North’s Del Norte Homelessness LOC should re-direct the bulk of our energy towards changing the public narrative in the community about homelessness, promoting more education about the multi-faceted and complex nature of homelessness in our community, increasing empathy and supporting specific community projects that will help with meeting short-term needs and set the stage for comprehensive and systemic change.