Public Comment

The Homeless Problem: The Berkeley City Council Can Do Better

Harry Brill
Sunday February 04, 2018 - 02:53:00 PM

Probably many of you have noticed the alarming increase in homelessness in the Bay Area. It is especially painful to see families with very young children in the streets. At UC Berkeley, students have organized a program to find affordable rooms for the many homeless students. UC gave a grant to a student organization that has been successfully finding living quarters for these students. 

I would like to urge the Berkeley City Council to invest in a similar program. There are plenty of empty rooms in Berkeley. Whether for reasons of benevolence or self-interest, I am sure that many homeowners and tenants could be persuaded to provide a living space for homeless individuals and even families. The Council could play an important in developing an administrative structure to implement such a program. 

Among those who may be interested, there are tremendous numbers of seniors who are living alone that could themselves benefit by providing an empty room for the homeless. As an example, there is very successful organization in New York City, the nonprofit New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, that has helped thousands of individuals obtain affordable housing by carefully matching people. 

The Berkeley City Council should take the initiative. The homeless cannot wait for an adequate supply of affordable housing to be built. I ask the Council to please, please, please, work toward filling the huge number of empty rooms and beds as soon as possible. 

It is important that we urge the Council to act. Please write to: to reach all Council members.