We all deserve the same opportunities. The color of our skin, how we look, or our income status does not define the person we are. I have lived on the coastside for over 15 years. It has been draining to see that the fight for adequate housing for the homeless community has gotten us nowhere in more than a decade. According to the Half Moon Bay website, “There were no homeless shelters on the San Mateo County coastside.” Having no shelters forces people to live in horrible conditions, especially during a pandemic. My community has had different priorities over the past years and homelessness has never been on the top of the list. We are all worthy of stable, clean, and healthy homes to feel safe and protected. There has to be change. So much time has passed by and this is no longer an issue, but a necessity.
Recently there has been some change in my community. The hotel called the Coastside Inn is being used as a shelter to help the homeless. The shelter provides rooms to the homeless in my community, but to those who also reside in San Mateo County. It is currently the first and only shelter in San Mateo County which is located in Half Moon Bay. This hotel is a start to spread awareness and to provide more shelters within the community.
The shelter, called Coast House, is being operated by LifeMoves, a large non-profit organization that has a lot of experience with homeless service programs. The only downside from this development is that this shelter is only a temporary fix and has no intentions to be permanent. The Coast House website states, “By providing personal privacy in individual rooms, the option for partners to be sheltered together, and maintaining a connection with their home community on the coast, this emergency shelter will provide a safe resting place while program participants work on long term housing plans.” This fix is only a bandage to the huge wound, and it only keeps expanding. There are still many people living on the streets, where they endure terrible weather and unsanitary conditions that are not fit to live in.
I love to see that my community is finally doing something to help the less fortunate, but there has to be something done that is more stable and fitting for everyone. I understand issues like these aren’t easy to fix overnight, but more than a decade has passed and it seems like my community is still in the same place. LifeMoves is helping the homeless who move into temporary shelters like the Coast House to find permanent housing and essentially move away. Why can’t there be permanent homes in town, close to the community they know? The homeless community might feel frightened to seek help due to the fact they’ll have to move away to get the proper housing they need. Both the organization and my community have great intentions, but the execution is unsatisfactory. Shelters should be provided and placed within my town, and it is absolutely absurd that the Coast House is the first and only shelter being provided. Bottom line: there should be more shelters and options available. As a community, we can’t threaten to take everything away from someone in order to be able to help them. Safe, healthy, and proper housing should be accessible for all.