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During a discussion this afternoon about the issues affecting homeless people in Visalia, a friend made what I think is a very important distinction: The people we want to help are not without a home — Visalia is their home. What they are is “unhoused”, not “homeless”. For many, the word homeless conjures up someone who is shiftless, probably dishonest, untrustworthy. And while that might be true in some cases, the majority of the people we are considering simply do not have a secure place to stay.

And in this same vein, our core committee to begin to explore the best ways for us to help these unhoused persons has been named the “homing” committee, rather than the “homeless” committee. Pure semantics? Possibly. But along with the changed verbiage can also come changed perceptions. And it is a starting place.