At our meeting on July 25, 2019, Karen Friedman introduced our speaker, Dr. Joshua Bamberger, who is currently serving (in addition to his medical practice) as the Assistant Director of UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative. A specialist in exploring the causes and remedies to homelessness in the Bay Area, Dr. Bamberger gave a thoughtful and informative presentation on the important subject to us today.
Oakland has one of the biggest homeless populations in the area, and it has risen by 47% in the past two years here. He pinpointed homeless causes of incarceration, mental illness and alcoholism, but by far the main root cause is lack of affordable housing. Fifty percent of the homeless over 50 years old were not homeless until that age, but were unable to remain in their homes, ending up on the street.
The major solution over time is providing more affordable housing, which has been woefully under built for the demand. It will not completely solve the homeless problem, but at least will get people off the streets and out of shelters and temporary housing like safe-sheds, seeing those as “emergency room” temporary solutions. Homelessness is certainly a major issue here in Oakland, and his remarks were topical and informative.
Dr. Bamberger’s presentation may be seen on the live stream video of the July 25th meeting at http://bit.ly/BambergerRCO