As Homeless in the Bay Area Die of Hypothermia, Zapata Tells Council to Delay Presentation on Homeless Until Spring.
A week or two ago, during one of the cold-waves that hit the Bay Area, newspapers revealed that four homeless people died of the cold in Santa Clara county. I asked Mayor Stephen Cassidy, on his FB page, what the City of San Leandro was doing to make sure our homeless did not meet the same fate.
Cassidy didn’t answer but, at last night’s City Council meeting, he asked that at the next City Council meeting, in January, staff report as to what the City is doing for the homeless. City Manager Chris Zapata interrupted to say that the Council had appropriated about $100K to spend on all social programs in San Leandro, and that come the spring they’d have a presentation on that and the Council could decide then whether to allocate some of that money to helping the homeless. It would seem that the City is currently not doing anything to help the homeless, and that Zapata believes that any policy should wait until the cold passes, even if that means homeless people in San Leandro die.
I had supported Zapata earlier on, as the first minority City Manager in this city, but I was appalled at his attitude towards the homeless. I know they can be scruffy, small bad and often times suffer from mental illnesses, drug addictions or both; but they are human beings. “There but for the grace of God go I,” (for atheists like me, substitute “God” with “fortune”).
It’s appalling enough that the Mayor and the Council have not thought to inquire earlier what is being done to help the homeless, but the fact that the City Manager thinks that preventing their deaths from cold during the winter should not even be discussed until it’s too late, is beyond words.
Fortunately, Cassidy pressed on and they’ll have the presentation in January. As for December 9th, seven homeless people had died from the cold in the Bay Area. One of them was in Hayward.