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Why don't people have shelter? 

Nipomo

I recently read that a young woman was killed while walking in traffic on Highway 101 near Tefft Street in Nipomo. I immediately guessed who she was. I never knew her name but saw her hundreds of times. She was tall, slender, blond, disheveled. Sometimes she accompanied homeless men who’d beg on the off-ramp. Over the years I did nothing but look the other way.

 I’d heard there was a homeless camp along Nipomo Creek. I’d heard the “campers” caused problems for local businesses. Trash and urine smells aren’t a great way to attract customers to stores.  Over the years I did nothing but avoid that area.

 In 2008, I heard the woman was pregnant. I heard someone donated an old RV for her comfort. I never asked what happened to the baby. I did nothing. 

 Now I ponder whether mental illness causes homelessness or is it a chosen way of life or is the economy partially to blame?  Is the problem magnified by people like me who do nothing? Could the cause be all of the above?  

 I ache for the victims of this tragedy, including the innocent drivers who had the misfortune of being on the freeway at the time she stood in their lane. They also are casualties of homelessness.

 I just saw a lone, apparently homeless man begging near the freeway. I did nothing but wonder: What can we do? 

-- Ethel Landers - Nipomo

-- Ethel Landers - Nipomo

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