Turlock community leaders met at the monthly Community Collaborative Meeting on Tuesday afternoon to address vital needs in the Turlock and Stanislaus County area. The issue of homelessness was of primary concern for those in attendance.
According to Robert Allen, community member and active advocate for the homeless, California is home to over 50% of the homeless population in the United States.
“Most cities don’t have the type of homelessness that we have,” Allen said.
The homelessness impacts every one in a community, including the youth. Gil Ogden, Director of Student Service for Turlock Unified School district explained some of the impacts that homelessness has on students.
“Statistics shows that homeless students miss the most amount of school over the school year,” Ogden said.
Students have a right to be immediately enrolled in school the day they show up regardless if the student has immunization records and transcripts.
“Homeless students can enroll in any school, they don’t have residency requirements, and the school district is required to provide transportation,” Ogden said, “Homelessness is a bad situation, but these kids don't have a future if they're not in school.”
A representative from the Stanislaus County Outreach and Engagement center explained that while there is some success with the homeless population, it is sometime hard to see.
“For every person being successfully housed, there’s two more that take their place, so your not going to see the immediate success from the Outreach and Engagement center,” he said,
“There is a huge success when agencies come together and collaborate as one.”
Those who attended the meeting were in agreement that coming together to solve the issues is the best approach to solving the community's problems.
One community member who attended the meeting said “I’m just happy to hear that the homelessness is being addressed, I see a lot on the Turlock facebook sites and hear various conversations about the problems in the community, so to address the actual homeless that are in need I see that as a very positive thing.