The governor’s $1-billion-dollar investment in the fight against homelessness includes the desert’s Riverside County Representative Manuel Perez.
The local leader is part of a state-wide homelessness task force made-up by 13 regional leaders, they will advise on solutions for the state’s homeless problem.
Perez said, “You can no longer just deal with the symptoms, we really need to tackle the root causes of homelessness.”
Perez said he will focus on three main issues he plans to take to Sacramento: housing, mental health and substance abuse.
The Supervisor said, “On one end of the spectrum homes are very expensive and on the other end of the spectrum there’s not enough of them so that conversation truly needs to be had.”
These are conversation he will also have with local city leaders, Palm Springs Councilwoman, Christy Holstege, co-signed a letter along with the rest of the city council where they called on the county officials to do more to tackle the homeless problem.
Holstege said the appoint of Perez to the task force means more local representation in the state and she looks forward to sharing ideas for solutions.
“As a region that we need a West Valley navigation center,” Holstege said. “So we need a one-stop-shop for people who can come in off the street and where there are emergency beds there, there are wrap-around services, mental health services, and substance abuse services.”
The task-force is co-chaired by Sacramento Mayor Darrel Steinberg and in an interview with the Sacramento Bee, he said the solution also lies on the public’s perception.
Mayor Steinberg said, “While we try to quote solve the problem, we are mostly OK with people living on the sidewalks, living under the river banks, living under bridges and until we acknowledge that and change that.”
While Supervisor Perez and Councilwoman Holstege agree, this problem will take a collaborative solution. The first meeting for the task force is scheduled for next month in the Central Valley, while a meeting in the Inland Empire is set for September.