Writing and Research: Aaron M. Weis
In this epoch of human history that we find ourselves a part of, we find that there are certain inalienable truths that we face, not just on a national level, but rather, on a global scale. These problems which arguably describe the zeitgeist, or spirit of our generation, include, but are by no means limited to the likes of dealing with nuclear weapons, climate change, what is perceived to be scarcity of resources or natural goods, and overpopulation, and with it, homelessness and poverty, just to name a few. Of these, the two that have been of most pressing concern are that of climate change, what with its correlation with topics such as fracking, the steady decrease in the bee population, which is no laughing matter when considering that there are scientists who argue that without them, that the human species would be eradicated within twenty-five or so years, not to mention that of the issue of overpopulation in its association with homelessness. This second part is extremely hard to overlook when considering that we as a species have grown at an exponential rate to the 9.5 some billion people that populate the planet, which is a steady number that is only expected to increase.
According to Susan McFarland of United Press International or UPI, the United Nations has noted that the matter of overpopulation and its relationship to homelessness is a serious internal issue in the United States. This is observable in the way that, despite being one of the most developed nations in the free world, that it is simultaneously ranked as one of the most unequal. By unequal, they mean that, even though it is one of the most prosperous and technologically advanced nations in the free world, that there are still more than 40 million souls living in extreme poverty and to which are subject to homelessness. And that doesn’t even divulge into the fact that the vast majority of this socioeconomic demographic is mostly consisting of individuals with mental illness, or various veterans, which is the beginning of a whole other conversation; the way that we treat our sick and war heroes.
For the 500,000 citizens in the Sacramento area, this eyebrow-raising concern is an unavoidable reality. It has been one of, if not the biggest socioeconomic problems facing the city for some time stretching back prior to 2015, by best estimates. What’s worse, is that as of June 26th of this year, the homeless rate of the state’s capital has reached it’s an all-time high. However, that is arguably not as bad as the fact that, while this city-wide tribulation has been well documented over the years, through such reliable sources as the Sacramento Bee, and the City of Sacramento itself, that nothing is really being done about it. That is to say that, yeah, they’re aware of it, but just can’t find the means to come up with a viable solution, because that, of course, requires a tremendous amount of pecuniary funding for what is perceived to be an otherwise unproductive class of society.
Statistically, the numbers associated with this conversation are absolutely heart-wrenching. At an estimated 5,560 individuals recorded, the data illustrates that homelessness rates are up nearly 20 percent. Beyond that, the report projects that roughly 10,000 to 11,000 people in the Sacramento county will experience some form of homelessness in 2019 alone. Sadly, around seventy percent of this particular populace is left completely unsheltered, which is a sort of subtle and kind euphemism used to say that they are in the streets with nothing more than the night sky to shelter them.
To illustrate the magnitude of this problem of unprecedented importance, it is best to compare Sacramento to the rest of the cities in California. On average, it is expected that of every 10,000 citizens in the Sac-Town area, that 36 of them are homeless. So how does this compare? Well, Sacramento ranks fifth in its total homeless population, behind San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Clara, and finally Alameda counties, and it really is no surprise, as these are some of the most highly populated cities in California, and there is an undeniable correlation between city population size and poverty and homelessness.
As a Sacramento resident, I know this problem all too well. In fact, if I were to take a simple walk down the street, I wouldn’t make it two blocks without running into the first individual that has fallen victim to these harsh extremes. I know this for a fact, because there is a small bridge right before the local seven-eleven down the street, to which there is literally a family living underneath it. Sometimes I will offer them one of my soft-drinks or some spare change on my walk home. And that doesn’t account for about a half dozen other stories like that in which I could account for.
So, Sacramento and the cities similar to it for that matter have some pretty big shoes to fill in terms of meeting and addressing the exigency created by this huge problem. As the human population as a whole increase, we really need to buckle up and find an innovative solution for the matter of poverty and homelessness. With overpopulation being such a huge and monumental global concern, it is hard to describe exactly how troubling it is that essentially nothing is really being done about the situation. Now, I know that there are those that will argue, well yeah, but a good deal of money has been spent to do something about it. And yeah, that is a good point, but if it were working, then why are the rates still increasing nonetheless? No, it is troubling because the way that these larger cities such as Sacramento address poverty and homelessness, sets an example for the rest of the world as to how to treat the problem of overpopulation, and so far that message has been, for the most part, nothing.
It is not enough to have food services at a church on just a few days a weeks, or a similar function in such organizations as Loaves and Fishes, although that is not to say that I personally do not hold them in the highest esteem in all the work that those involved do in order to combat this serious problem. Just as it is not okay to create for a tent city, or anything of that likes, and have them just fend for themselves, well it is well-known that this demographic is teens, individuals with mental illness, and the old or the veterans as mentioned above. That is just a flagrant injustice on so many levels, and something has to be done to address it. It is an inevitable truth as the exigency for overcoming overpopulation becomes a larger part of our subjective reality with each passing day. It has to been addressed, for all of our sakes.