Efforts underway for homeless housing

Following the death of 56-year-old homeless man, Brian Ashheim, Ventura County Supervisor Jeff Gorell held a press conference regarding the cause of Ashheim’s passing, focusing on the county’s unhoused population. Ashheim was found dead on Feb. 8. People at the encampment where he died said it was raining and he was sleeping beneath a wet blanket.
The Medical Examiner for Ventura County, Dr. Chistopher Young, disclosed that Ashheim’s death was due to heart disease and chronic alcoholism. People who experience homelessness are unprotected from premature death caused by natural or unnatural reasons. They are also less likely to receive adequate medical care. Officials claimed that approximately two dozen people were living at the encampment. Homeless shelters often assist those who are living in places like Ashheim was, but Thousand Oaks does not have any.
On the weekend before Ashheim was found dead, he had gone to Los Robles Medical Center for nausea, weakness and tremors. People who lived at the encampment with Ashheim stated that he was struggling to deal with numerous personal issues. They claimed he was doing the best the situation allowed. According to other people living at the encampment, Ashheim had recently ended a 16-year relationship and was heartbroken and depressed.
Officials are now focusing on the issue of getting people without a home into a safe and protected environment. Ventura County’s Board of Supervisors has recently adopted the Strategic Plan Priority, a plan that will focus the application of up to $2.6 million in homeless housing and prevention through all of Ventura County’s Continuum of Care. They will also be adding 15 full-time positions within the Human Services Agency, Sheriff’s Office and County Executive Office. The Sheriff’s Office Homeless Liaison Unit will be increasing its connection to the homeless community. These actions will be in addition to the federal Updated Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, which aims to prevent and support those who are unable to afford housing. The completion of the 2024 Homeless Point-In-Time Count report is expected to be published in April by the Ventura County Continuum of Care.