Opinion: The Pursuit of Happiness and the reasons why two men will become homeless

Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / The homeless encampment along E. 11th Street on Monday, December 6, 2021.

Walking. Pedaling bikes. In sagging cars with backseats packed and stuffed with clothes, cans of food, anything, everything.

Leaning up next to buildings, pushing shopping carts, wrapped in tarps, heavy coats, many coats, no coats. Many are quiet. Others talk excitedly, sometimes to no one, sometimes to everyone. Others speak through cardboard signs: veteran, no family, hungry, please help.

Camped behind the dollar store, under bridges, in our booming tent cities.

I see more homeless people in this city than ever before.

What I don't see: numbers. How large is our local homeless population? How many died during COVID-19? How many more shelter beds are needed?

Will our county mayoral candidates talk about homelessness? Or a vision to address our mental illness crisis?

We need more awareness, attention.