About the Problem
Homelessness is an issue that can be resulted from other underlying issues, such as limited mental health resources and support for people suffering from substance abuse. Homelessness is not only a problem for those directly affected by it, but also for businesses and the community as a whole. The City of Barstow is currently not building any more properties to accommodate people, and there are currently no homeless shelters available except for victims of domestic abuse.
We contacted Shannon Batchev, the Interim Program Manager from Homeless Housing Insecurity at Barstow College, and had an interview with her. Shannon has extensive knowledge about the housing crisis at Barstow. She gave me an overview of the Homelessness situation in Barstow as well as provided me with the data. As per the point-in-time count report of the number of homeless people in Barstow, there are currently 103 homeless people in Barstow; 54 unsheltered, 49 who are sheltered.
The people affected by this problem are people who are at risk for either chronic or situational homelessness. While certain demographics are more prone to chronic homelessness, situational homelessness may affect virtually anyone.
This is an ongoing problem that has occurred daily for over several decades. It is important to note that while situational homelessness may be short-term, issues such as mental health concerns and substance abuse, can lead to chronic homelessness.
Homelessness is an ongoing crisis. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, rates of homelessness grew rapidly in the 1980’s and are at an all-time high now.
Homelessness is a relatively serious problem that affects the whole community. Poor street hygiene resulting from it, poses a danger to everyone in the community, as disease and rodents can thrive in these conditions.
This issue is perceived as a major problem in the community as it affects the safety and overall hygiene of the public areas, as well as decreases the overall economic growth of the community.
An encampment of homeless people is common in River Bottom and in the Lenwood Area, as well as the motels along Main Street. Overall, homelessness is a problem which affects the whole city.
Stakeholders include Barstow businesses, organizations, and institutions such as Barstow College, the Housing Authority of San Berdardino, and the residents of the Barstow Community.
Homelessness in Barstow is an issue that resulted from other underlying issues, such as limited mental health resources and support for people suffering from substance abuse. Currently, there are no homeless shelters, except for domestic violence issues in Barstow which poses a few problems. Police are not able to direct a homeless person off the street unless they have an alternative to offer them, such as a local shelter. Homelessness poses a problem for the community as it affects businesses and overall sanitary health for the citizens. The city of Barstow is in dire need of a homeless shelter and more affordable housing. While the housing cost has increased significantly, wages have stayed stagnant. A large percentage of the Barstow population receives government benefits, which limits their ability to absorb increases in housing costs. Employment is at an all-time high and many small businesses have closed down due to the pandemic lockdown. This means fewer jobs and financial resources for the general population. Because of the increase of the housing market, many landlords are selling their property, which leads to some previous rentals ceasing to be rentals. Although there is not a huge population growth, The City of Barstow is currently not building any more properties to accommodate people. There are two types of homelessness, chronic and situational. While situational might be an event such as a house catching on fire, or a family getting evicted, chronic homelessness stems from a deeper problem, such as substance abuse, and mental health problems. In order to tackle the problem of chronic homelessness, we need to provide services that address these root causes. The possibility of large companies opening offices in the City of Barstow has been rumored. While this might bring jobs and help boost the economy, there is not currently enough housing to support the influx of people it might bring, and might discourage any contracts from reaching its fruition. Since homelessness can strike anyone, this is a relative serious problem which affects the whole community. Anyone can become homeless at any time, and would hope that measures have been put in place by the city for alternate accommodations. Homelessness poses many risks to the ones that have been affected by it, such as safety and health risks. This problem also disrupts the community by affecting businesses and communities. As homelessness increases, economic opportunities decrease. Companies are reluctant to set up branches or headquarters in areas plagued by homeless. Businesses also suffer as neighborhoods with high rates of homelessness are less frequented, and can decrease the values of the homes in the area. Declines in job opportunities and availability of housing can result in other people moving out of the area.