You hear it all the time: Homeless people living on the streets in Anytown, U.S.A., aren't actually from Anytown, U.S.A.; they're from Othertown, U.S.A.
The conversation resurfaced once again last week when a Redding elected official used a photo of a man reportedly in Sacramento begging for money to get to Redding as proof the city is drawing outsiders.
Yet time and again, research has shown that no matter the community, a majority of its homeless population tends to be from the area or around it.
ďI donít want to go so far as to say that this is something thatís being spread around Ö to sort of make the problem seem unmanageable or out of control," said Dr. Kyle Patton, who does medical outreach for homeless people in the Redding area. "But I think there is an advantage to creating that narrative, because then it seems like Redding is this unique microcosm of homelessness and thereís nothing we can do about it, which I definitely donít feel like is the case.Ē
Redding's elected officials have a lot of thoughts about homelessness. Last month, then-mayor Julie Winter suggested homeless people should be locked up until they demonstrate self-sufficiency.