By Andrea Nakano

WALNUT CREEK (KPIX 5) — The city of Walnut Creek held a community forum Tuesday night to discuss solutions to homelessness in the city.

Homelessness is an issue found in almost every Bay Area community, so the Walnut Creek Library was packed with concerned residents. They know that the city’s homeless population is much smaller than other areas, but they’re worried it’s growing.

From Martinez, where they have built strong relationships with the homeless to Walnut Creek, the goal is to limit the number of people who spend their nights on the dark cold streets.

“I think they understand it’s a problem I just think it’s so difficult and I don’t think there are any real clear answers,” said Walnut Creek resident Audrey Boissonou.

More than a hundred people in search of answers attended community forum on homelessness. Boissonou added, “The sheer numbers of homeless is growing and they’re impacting our lives.”

The meeting was held to keep the community up to date on what has been done and to get feedback on what still needs to be done. Walnut Creek Mayor Pro Tem Loella Haskew says the Trinity Center has been key in giving the homeless a place to go in the city, if they qualify.

Those that don’t are the hardest to help. “Some of them are sad, sad cases and they cope the best they can in most cases,” Haskew added.

The twist to this particular meeting was to enlist children to help. Victoria Johnson with Creek Kids has school age children doing projects like creating artwork to sell to the community. All the proceeds go to helping the local homeless shelter.

“I think it’s important that they understand that there is life outside of their bubble, that they are struggling in the world and they have an opportunity to help,” said Johnson.

Contra Costa County will do a count in a couple of weeks to get a better idea of how many people are living on the streets. At this point, there is only shelter space for 28% of the homeless in the county.

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