Officials Gather in Stockton to Discuss Solutions to Homelessness

STOCKTON -- More than 200 local, state and federal officials from across California and Nevada gathered Thursday in Stockton for a summit focused on addressing youth and rural homelessness.

"No one agency, no one organization can solve this problem. It really takes all of us," San Joaquin County Supervisor Kathy Miller said. "It takes working together and listening, and events like this really facilitate those conversations."

The different agencies shared success stories, tips and lessons for ending and preventing homelessness. Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs said it was especially important to also focus on youth homelessness.

"I learned today that on any given night, there's up to a hundred youth in the shelters in Stockton, which is completely unacceptable," Tubbs said.

He said the city is already doing a number of things to combat homelessness and acknowledges the public's frustration.

"We're also here today to show that we understand that it's absolutely not enough and there's much more that we have to do," he said.

Some of the strategies discussed during the summit centered on housing-first solutions.

"If we want to reduce the number of homeless people in our county, in our communities, we need to be able to provide places for them to go," San Joaquin County homeless initiatives administrator Adam Cheshire said.

Tubbs said the need for affordable housing is critical in preventing and reducing homelessness.

"Too often affordable housing is the boogeyman. No one wants affordable housing in their neighborhood but if you hate homelessness like I do, then that means you love affordable housing because there's a sizable amount of our homeless population that are homeless simply because they can't afford rent," Tubbs said.

Thursday's summit came after the heels of the Trump administration's proposed 2020 budget that set aside $2.6 billion for state and local homeless programs.

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