Local Panel on Homelessness

OAKLAND, CA – Last week representatives from Bay Area homeless organizations came together in an Oakland panel discussion organized by the Junior League of Oakland-East Bay, to discuss the rapid growth of homelessness, and how communities can and should respond.

From an article covering the panel event in OaklandNorth.com, “Between 2015 and 2017, the homeless population in Oakland grew 26 percent, with a 40 percent increase countywide according to the EveryOne Counts point in time homeless count….In Contra Costa County, the number of homeless people grew 38 percent between 2017 and 2018, with an especially high increase among senior citizens. Their presence among the homeless grew 88 percent.”

Gina Tomlinson represented BOSS on the panel, and shared her specific expertise on technology, and how technology can be used for solutions such as training individuals for the high wage tech sector, developing apps that connect homeless people to housing and services, or using technology to improve coordination among public health and nonprofit agencies.

“There is passion around technology and homelessness. We want to review those solutions to see how they may advance our mission,” says Gina.

Other speakers addressed the barriers and long-timelines to housing creation, and increasing attitudes of intolerance to homeless people and encampments.

Nella Gonçalves, Deputy Director of Beyond Emancipation, said that she believes a good start for change would be for people to at least acknowledge them—treat them with dignity and respect, talk a little, ask for their name. “We can throw money at it, but we need to change our social attitudes,” Gonçalves said, underlining her point.

Read more at OaklandNorth.

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If you would like a BOSS speaker to talk to your club, school, workplace or other group, contact Sonja at sfitz@self-sufficiency.org or 510.649.1930 x 1008.