.Letter to the Editor: Out of Reach

Re: “Blanket Solutions” (GT, 3/31): Whenever the subject of homelessness crops up, the cry of “affordable housing” as a sure-fire fix is certain to follow.

Understandable, given our collective exasperation. “The solution is easy,” claims Cecelia Espinola, board president of Housing Matters. “It’s housing!” Ah, yes. Lifestyles of the rich and unsustainable, just one block over. Hurry! 

Yet listen to Steve Pleich, who for years has had his ear to the ground on matters of homelessness. “Affordable housing is out of the reach of just about every unsheltered person I know.”

Bingo. A case of too many people chasing too few resources. Now add to this irresolvable situation the uncompromising malcontents who claim to speak for the unhoused—demanding this, expecting that, refusing to give even an inch, as if that was their prerogative.

When I rolled into Santa Cruz in 1978 as a van-dwelling wannabe hippie, I lined up every weekday morning outside the EDD, hoping to score a much-coveted day job. Later, I found steady-ish work at the William James Work Co., a short-lived worker’s co-op. Sadly, those days—and the hippies—are long gone.

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But you can’t outrun your karma, nor the price of paradise. These days I find myself once again living in a van a la Francis McDormand in Nomadland, cushioned this time by Social Security. So no worries—my days on this crowded, wounded planet are mercifully numbered. 

But for the young and the impoverished; for the mentally broken and the chemically altered; for the dead-enders, the layabouts, and the criminally inclined; and for the good, decent folks blindsided by happenstance—I just don’t see how four walls and a ticket to prosperity are going to magically materialize.

Tim Rudolph | Santa Cruz

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