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Lawmakers gather at Oroville forum in search of homelessness solutions

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OROVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) -- Elected officials and service providers were looking for successful strategies to combat homelessness at a forum in Oroville Monday.

Over the past few years, more and more small communities have struggled to address homelessness.

A key participant at the forum was San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who has supported quick action to address the homeless problem in his city. That has included the use of large "bridge" shelters to provide immediate temporary housing for the homeless, facilities to store their belongings and safe parking areas for those living out of their cars.

Faulconer said part of the solution is to introduce accountability into the mix. Homeless people are not allowed to camp on sidewalks or other public and private areas because an alternative is provided for them.

"It's so important to go out there and offer that alternative and then when we do, we insist that folks use it," Faulconer said. "It's the right thing for the individual, it's the right thing for homeowners and business owners."

Yuba City Assemblyman James Gallagher said it is important to find solutions that work rather than pay for solutions that keep people in homelessness without addressing mental health, drug abuse and work training issues.

"If they're just kind of keeping people in homelessness, that's not what we need to do," Gallagher said. "We want to have a pathway out of homelessness."

The San Diego City Council recently approved a 10-year homeless program that includes temporary shelters and permanent affordable housing. It would also create support programs that would cost as much as $1.9 billion.

But funding has not been fully identified, which is a typical problem for communities trying to implement homeless programs.

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