You can complain about the homeless in your neighborhood; and you can believe that being homeless is their own concern and that they should quit being homeless or leave ... and that’s about as deep as some of us get. But progress won’t be made until the community actually takes on the problem.

Fair to taxpayers? No. But there are a lot of things we have to take care of for which it would seem more fair if they took care of themselves. Blame away, but if you want to get something done, it’s clear that the problem has to be the responsibility of the whole community.

In that regard, we’re impressed by Yuba County and Marysville for recently taking another step ahead, with approval by city officials for the Life Building Center to expand services to include an overnight emergency shelter.

Habitat for Humanity CEO Joseph Hale pointed out in a recent article that it’s difficult for a participant in the Life Building program to make strides without stable housing. 

“Opening a shelter will allow participants to grow and develop while in the program, so that’s one of the main reasons we wanted to establish this.”

City officials approved a zoning change for the property at 131 F St., allowing the center to provide overnight accommodations for up to 26 people. The “coordinated-entry” center already provides services such as case management, life building skills training, social services and job skills resources for homeless individuals.

We admire Hale for his stance.

He said in the article that the mission of the local Habitat organization is to help end homelessness and substandard housing. To charge ahead in that direction, there needs to be an assortment of services and of levels of service for getting people off the street and into a program, securing temporary housing in order to start rebuilding a life; and eventually having them secure permanent housing.

“We want to help people rebuild  their lives, and this will help get some of them out of the homeless experience and into a program to get back on track.”

Participants will be able to bunk in the upstairs of the building (with an ADA compliant room downstairs). It will have bathrooms, laundry and storage facilities that can be utilized by daytime and overnight users.

Another proven entity will help run the overnight program: Hands of Hope. They’ll take referrals from an assortment of other agencies, including 14Forward, law enforcement, Adventist Health/Rideout.

On a separate tack, having the overnight, temporary shelter available allows the police to enforce a no camping ordinance in city limits. 

Construction may start this summer and be finished by fall.

Neighbors have been skeptical about living next to such a facility. We understand their concern and we hope that Habitat and partners manage the building to such an extent that the neighborhood might become more safe than it already is.

Our View editorials represent the opinion of the Appeal-Democrat and its editorial board and are edited by the publisher and/or editor. Members of the editorial board include: Publisher Glenn Stifflemire and Editor Steve Miller.

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