In the past I have been highly critical of the Huntington Beach City Council on a number of issues, primarily targeting its inaction in addressing the pressing needs of our community and its regressive obsession with protecting a nostalgic status quo. On this occasion, however, I am here to thank my City Council members.
At the April 18 special meeting, the council took an important first step toward constructively addressing homelessness and the homeless community within our city.
The issue of homelessness is nothing new to Huntington Beach. Our city, like so many in Orange County, has experienced an increase in the local homeless population, and we’ve struggled to take effective-yet-compassionate action. The ongoing debate among residents, as seen at our public hearings, study sessions and on multiple social media platforms, has been far from helpful and absent even the slightest note of compassion or constructive intent.
Many of the loudest voices in our community wish to simply ignore H.B.’s responsibility to act and instead tend to focus on demonizing the homeless. These types of comments are so tainted by the reek of rampant NIMBYism, they offer virtually nothing to our ongoing search for answers. Thankfully, our City Council has finally decided to take action rather than entertaining the dismissive thinking of some residents who simply want our elected officials to just “make it go away.”
No one knows the extent to which this step will serve to address the issue of homelessness in Huntington Beach. There are no guarantees, but a lack of guaranteed success is hardly a reason to do nothing. As a Huntington Beach resident, I support our City Council’s action and urge it to continue to constructively address the needs of our community.
Steve Shepherd lives in Huntington Beach.