A Fresh Perspective: Tahoe Town Hall focusing on homelessness set for today | TahoeDailyTribune.com

A Fresh Perspective: Tahoe Town Hall focusing on homelessness set for today

Devin Middlebrook
A Fresh Perspective

Of the many challenges our community faces, homelessness seems to get little attention or conversation among community members. I personally know little of the full picture and it is not necessarily something one thinks about when describing our community.

I only hear about homelessness when there is a major issue or conflict like the stabbing at the "Y" transit center last winter. It seems as if people hope that not talking about the issue will make it go away.

Unfortunately, the issue is not going to magically disappear and it is the responsibility of our community to address it head on and offer tangible solutions.

Homelessness is a complex issue with many dimensions and causes. The lack of jobs, housing, support systems and education are all major factors in the situation. Our climate also provides challenges with cold winters that raise the visibility of the homeless community.

When the Lake Tahoe Warm Room, and the caring people behind it, try to offer a safe place out of the elements, it is met with polarized criticism and support from the community. Critics often state that by helping the homeless it is only perpetuating the situation. However, not offering support is not a solution our community should be OK with.

Every individual and his or her needs are unique, a wide range of services need to be made available to offer the support and assistance that is needed. This support system includes mental health services, drug abuse counseling, housing support, job training, education and a feeling of safety. Organizations like the Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless, Tahoe Youth & Family Services, and El Dorado County Health and Human Service are working toward these types of solutions.

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To elevate the conversation in our community and hopefully lead to significant solutions, Tahoe Regional Young Professionals is presenting Tahoe Town Hall: Addressing Homelessness.

This free event for the community takes place Wednesday, Aug. 30, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Tahoe Beach Retreat and Lodge. Come to the event and hear from local and regional experts on the topic and representatives from the Warm Room, mental health services, and police department.

If you are unable to attend the event, catch the live stream at http://www.tahoetryp.org or http://www.tahoedailytribune.com.

We are not the only community that struggles with these issues, and I have no solutions to offer, however, ignoring the problem is not going to change anything.

Our community has proven that we can work together and lend a helping hand when it is needed. One way to help is by supporting the organizations, agencies and people working to make thing better for our community in so many ways.

Devin Middlebrook is executive director of the Tahoe Regional Young Professionals. For comments, questions or more information on how to get involved, please email Devin at dcmiddlebrook@gmail.com or visit http://www.TahoeTryp.org.

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