Somehow I missed the city’s Ad Hoc Committee on Homelessness meeting, which was held Monday and covered in a front page article in Tuesday’s Signal. The article, titled “Group talks homelessness concerns,” mentioned several attendees cited the need for more affordable housing in the Santa Clarita Valley and quotes Mayor Cameron Smyth saying that would be the focus of the next meeting.
Smyth also said he hears regular complaints that there is already too much housing development, and that Santa Clarita is already overcrowded, though we hear little from Smyth or the City Council in opposition to new development such as Newhall Ranch.
In that same article, Councilmember Marsha McLean – the other half of the City Council Homelessness Committee made up of the mayor and herself – says bringing more affordable housing to Santa Clarita would be “up to the developers.”
She also recalls hearing repeatedly that the city needs more affordable housing and goes on to say, “If a developer comes and is willing to build these units, we’re not saying ‘no.’ I think we’d have more developers come in here if it wasn’t so difficult and expensive.”
Wow! We have a problem in our city, a huge problem, and we would like to be able to look to our elected officials to work out a solution. Yet they are waiting for some developer to magically appear with the answer!
During my working years, I recall that when a private or public organization, agency, etc. had a need, it would put out a request for proposal (RFP) stating what was desired (very low-cost housing), set forth the required specifications, acceptable cost range, and whether there would be any sort of assistance/tax break/etc.
Why can’t this newly formed committee work on some kind of an RFP. It could involve College of the Canyons to help set up the design specifications and to provide creative ways of thinking and solving these very real problems.
What an extraordinary learning experience for those students, and what an excellent cost/benefit ratio for the city.
Goodness knows, this current world has a plethora of opportunities to do problem-solving, and this is one that is ripe for the picking! The time is right! We cannot wait patiently while more families and seniors become homeless as they are completely priced out of the housing market!
Our leaders need to lead! They need to work out acceptable solutions to this problem; it awaits their action.
Urge them to act! Often leaders sit still until they are pressed into action by their constituents. If that be so, then let us all give out such a clarion call that they will be so urged!
Attend City Council meetings, call, write, and email your council members, gather your civic-minded groups together to move forward on this homelessness issue!
We will all benefit! Let your voice be heard!
Sally White is a Valencia resident.