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MAURA MIKULEC, Capistrano Beach

Earlier this month, at the San Clemente City Council meeting, commenting on the city’s Housing Plan and its RHNA numbers, I contributed a public comment that reiterated the idea that San Clemente needs more affordable and supportive housing for residents who are disabled, for seniors, and for people experiencing poverty.

One commenter in the YouTube chat scoffed, asserting that housing like this does not go to seniors or the disabled, but rather to “homeless vagrants.” It needs to be said that that commenter is factually wrong. And let’s not forget that the entire council recently voted to defer a decision on whether to take grant money for a full year, with the caveat that a small portion of the money, as proposed, would not go to Permanent Supportive Housing.

Around the time of that meeting, there were several dozen people at the Laguna Hills Inn alone, part of Project Room Key, who needed supportive or affordable housing. These people are mostly long-term residents of South County, about half of whom are seniors, and most of whom have disabilities and/or significant medical conditions.

These are people who were homeless, who were living on the streets and in their cars. These are the people waiting for supportive and affordable housing that does not exist, and who will be shuffled around to shelters and other substandard places in the following weeks, now that Project Room Key has come to an end.

Sadly, many will land back on the street because too many people think that Permanent Supportive Housing is for people they consider unworthy, or like the present city council, who think that somehow Permanent Supportive Housing is not something we should have in San Clemente.

Permanent Supportive Housing, and Affordable Housing, are for people experiencing poverty, for seniors, and for people with disabilities. Housing ends homelessness. Housing ends suffering. Housing restores dignity. Housing saves lives.

When is this community going to stand up against ignorant narratives espoused by some in this community, and be willing to help those members of the community who need this kind of help? Hopefully, in the upcoming election.

Find out where the candidates stand on housing and vote.

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