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Homelessness is an epidemic 

Just look around at our riverbeds—in fact everywhere—there are pockets of homeless encampments. The problem seems to be growing exponentially. Since the last census on homelessness, it is up 30 percent in SLO County. Simply put, what we are doing is not working.

The 5Cities Homeless Coalition started with one employee and now has six, and the homeless population is only getting much worse. They are helping those who have fallen on hard times, lost their jobs, or homes.

It seems to be impossible to stop or even slow down the flood of drug use in America. The extended use of alcohol or drugs equals mental disabilities, brought on by choices they have made.

Denmark has a solution that has worked for them for many years. It is called Freetown or Christiania. They have taken an abandoned military base in the metropolitan area of Copenhagen and opened it up to the homeless.

There is no way to protect people from themselves, if they choose to ruin their lives. So being a humane society, we can give them a roof over their heads, and let them figure out the rest. Yes, drugs are sold openly in Freetown, and problems do occur. But, face it, drugs are sold on street corners here.

Australia was founded by criminals, and they figured it out and became self-sufficient.

The expense of continuing a program that doesn't work makes no sense. Find out from the government in Denmark how they implemented Christiania and what they did to encourage the homeless to live there. Use the plan as a model.

Please try something different.

Helen Jacobsen

Arroyo Grande

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