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Eureka wants to move sooner rather than later on homelessness.

The Eureka City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to adopt the housing element, which provides a guide for how the city will meet its housing needs in the future based on projected growth, with a few last minute changes, including starting to address homelessness a year sooner than was stated in the draft housing element.

Cities and counties are required by the state Department of Housing and Community Development to update their housing elements every five to eight years.

“My experience working with people who are houseless is that the lay of the land changes quickly so I think taking a long time may not necessarily suit our purposes,” said Councilwoman Leslie Castellano.

In addition to changing the time frame to begin dealing with homelessness from 2021 to 2020, the council added language for the city to advocate for state and county resources to address homelessness in Eureka, to broaden the languages in which housing materials will be available and accommodate those who aren’t literate, and to recommit to Housing First principles.

Housing First emphasizes getting people who don’t have a home into housing without any preconditions, such as having to participate in a sobriety program.

Members of the council acknowledged the city had been taking steps in the right direction to help people get back into housing and gain job skills, but Councilwoman Kim Bergel said there’s an urgency to this issue because people are oftentimes sleeping on the street in freezing weather.

“In my opinion, this is like a rock and we have to hit it from a lot of different directions,” Bergel said. “It’s not the hundredth blow that’s going to break that rock. It may be the 50th, it may be hitting it all these different directions and maybe some things don’t work, but we’re not going to know unless we try.”

Sonia Waraich can be reached at 707-441-0506.

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