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Mark Anthony Howard | Opinions Editor

A winter night in Riverside may reach 35 degrees. To put into a perspective 35 degrees is the same temperature that water may freeze. Imagine being stuck outside in such a cold. Imagine living that reality for months.

Homelessness is a community issue of that deserves a much larger sentiment and dedication toward some resolve.

The homeless population and the dynamics that lead to it connote some very inaccurate assumptions by those who may be unaware. Not all homeless persons are alcoholics and drug abusers. Not all homeless people may live directly on the streets. Not all homeless people have bad hygiene and not all homeless people are bad people. Many are just as good of people as you or I.

The point is that Homeless persons are not just the hardest cases that we may see living directly on the street. The population of homeless persons
is much wider than and much broader than the average person may initial assume.

Homelessness consists of many different cases just as stressful psychologically.

Within Riverside county’s 7200 mile region, 6,203 cases where counted this year ranging from men living in vehicles, encampments, and abandoned
buildings to women and children living in unconverted garages, storage structures, and other places not normally used or meant for human habitation.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s federal definition of homelessness is an individual who lacks a fixed regular and adequate nighttime residence or an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is not designated for, or ordinary used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

The county of Riverside’s Homeless Count & Survey attest that 14.3 percent of county’s homeless are military veterans.

That is a terrible statistic to be account in one of the most patriotic cities in southern California.

Large portions of Market Street and downtown Main Street are dedicated to the memorial and gratitude to its veterans but these same streets double
as residence to some of these veterans we salute each Veterans Day. I think this is hypocritical and irresponsible.

I think it is absolutely the community and the entire county’s responsibility to amend and address the ever-growing homeless population within our
city, state and country.

This winter and holiday season may be an extremely cold one. I ask that each person consider themselves blessed and grateful with the  consideration toward so many less fortunate and struggling families unable to enjoy the same warmth and quality provisions.

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