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Hemet hopes consultant can help solve growing homeless problem

By in Press Enterprise on January 6, 2018

By Craig Shultz

As Hemet’s homeless population surges, the city is bringing in a consultant to help attack the problem.

Hemet will pay up to $21,000 to Solutions for Change to, among other tasks, determine how many homeless individuals and families are in town and create a program to help them get off the streets.

“The community has spoken, we need to address this,” City Councilwoman Bonnie Wright said. “They want solutions.”

Wright, who leads the city’s Homeless Task Force, said city leaders are looking for more than a quick fix.

“We really worked on trying to find a permanent solution, not a temporary fix,” she said. “We’re really excited to look at the problem strategically and definitively and ultimately creating a program that will help our homeless community.”

Based in the San Diego County city of Vista, Solutions for Change is a nonprofit organization that seeks to solve family homelessness.

Founded in 1999, Solutions works to move families out of homelessness using tactics that include reaching the root causes of homelessness and doing so in a way that makes economic sense for a city.

Its program includes housing, education and job training.

“Part of it is being able to offer people an opportunity to change their life forever,” said Paul Webster, director of strategic advancement for Solutions for Change.

The contract is for up to $19,700, plus up to $1,500 in expenses.

“Our goal is to see if there is an opportunity to serve the community,” Webster said. “Our why is about moving people from homelessness. We’ve got a good history here in north San Diego County of doing just that.”

Webster has already been meeting with community leaders and groups in Hemet to start the study.

“Everybody recognizes homelessness as one of the top issues in Hemet,” Webster said.

Webster said he’s found Hemet to be a compassionate community that wants to […]    

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