Skip to main content

Idealistic fervor on display at Loaves & Fishes news conference, today

Sister Libby Fernandez began the formal part of her press conference this morning saying, "Shame on us. Shame on our government." Whatever shame there was on "us" was unnamed and forgotten while the local government bore the whole of accusations that were deemed shameful.

At issue are three shelter closures at the end of June, all run by the local chapter of the organization Volunteers of America. The three shelters that are scheduled to close, due to lack of funding, are Winter shelter [aka, Overflow] (204 beds, plus 18 couch sleeping spaces) and the Aid-in-Kind shelters on A Street and on Bannon Street (an aggregate of 142 beds).

The pronouncement that 346 beds are being cut [204+142=346], [or 328 beds; though I don't know how that total was derived] as several speakers claimed today, is a dubious statistic. Winter shelter, as its name suggests, has not in the past been a shelter for all seasons. In years past, the shelter has closed at the end of March. It is only this year that the bed capacity was increased and the duration it will be open was extented three months into early summer.

It truth, based on years past, there will be a shelter-space loss of 122 beds beginning on July 1st, unless funding comes forth to increase summer capacity. Winter shelter was extended twice this year. Its bunkbed spaces have never been funded for the summer. The two Aid-in-Kind shelters have, in the past, cut back from 142 beds to 122 beds in the spring. Currently, beds for summer residents are not funded.

Still, concern for there being greatly inadequate shelter space beginning on July 1 is valid. And disgust with local government [primarily, the county, but the city, too] exists because they had seemed, in the wake of the Oprah-inspired media blitz of compassion for the homeless, to find means to meet demand. But now, with huge deficits projected for their new fiscal years, beginning July 1, the city and county representatives have chosen not to fund homeless shelters at all.

Shelters in Sacramento are now full. I am told or know personally that Union Gospel Mission and Winter shelter were both full last night. Salvation Army, St. John's and Mary's House are each full with waiting lists.

Leo McFarland, President and CEO of VOA, said at the press conference that the Department of Human Assistance, the county's welfare operation that oversees VOA, was hoping to save one or two of the shelters scheduled for closure. But McFarland opposes this effort, to save just two, as inadequate.

SacHo is hopeful that just ONE of the VOA shelters remain in operation after June 30, in slimed-down, short-hours, no-frills mode. Winter shelter SHOULD close; it's a nightmare operation that gobbles up homeless people's time. ONE of the Aid-in-Kind buildings should be run on-the-cheap, made to hold 120+ people with hours from 8:30pm to 6:30am, serving dinner and breakfast on either side of an eight-hour sleep period.

SacHo is also hopeful that Loaves & Fishes will "walk the walk" and make available the large empty lot now on its property for a small legal tent encampment.

And SacHo expects that police must fully stop rousting homeless people, with or without camping gear, when they sleep outside.


Popular posts from this blog

The Mission Five Years Ago, And Today

I have spent the night the past two weeks plus at the Union Gospel Mission and am having an excellent time of it -- not only regards to sleeping in the dorm that the mission has, but also listening to the sermons that are delivered in the early evening. The Christmas music that is performed is also splendid. [And the food -- the FOOD -- has been fantastic during my stay so far! A happier Tom there couldn't be.] I chatted with a pal last night about The Mish – about how things were about five years ago when we both used the mission’s services frequently, and how thing are, today.
Five years ago, there were a lot scuffles between the guys when the front gate was opened in the early afternoon and in the area near the contact window there were some brawls as guys fought over where guys were in line to get a bed in the dorm.
Nowadays, however, the mission is very much a peaceful place both on the grounds of the facility and and out on the street.
I do not know what transformative eve…

Homeless Sacramentans lose case that would have given them the right to set up outdoor camping

8/11/13 I certainly give attorneys Mark Merin and Cat Williams credit for pursuing a case against the city of Sacramento to give homeless Sacramentans the right to set up tents and a campsite. I wanted them to win their case, but they didn't. They lost it.

BUT, it is also necessary to look at the particulars of the case that Merin and Williams brought and see that the situation underlying the court case was not very compelling.

During the period eight years ago when 22 homeless campers set up their tents and brought in supplies to Mark Merin's vacant lot at C Street, near 12th, there was loud noise and plenty of other mayhem. Drug dealers were on the street encouraging buys from the campers. The Hernandez couple that lived in a house nearby were constantly being taunted by the campers, disrupting their lives.

Per always with Safe Ground camps, calm was deserted for the sake of boisterousness.

Leader John Kraintz and the other Safe Grounders would claim to have signed strict a…

After a Three-Month Hiatus, a Fall from a Ladder & a Broken Wrist, Evangelist Jimmy Roughton Returns to Union Gospel Mission to Preach

After being away from Union Gospel Mission for a quarter of a year, Jimmy Roughton returned to preach at UGM on the cold night of December 13 -- despite suffering [a little? a lot? dunno.] from a fall from a ladder that likely immediately preceded a significant injury (a wrist that was broken).

It was good to see his group from Capital Free Will Baptist Church up on the pulpit, with Roughton rough-and-ready to seduce and inspire the happily-captivate crowd at UGM.

Roughton told us in his opening words that he was now in his 27th year coming to the mission.

I recall the first preaching I had heard from Roughton on June 13, 2009. At that time and up to the current time, Roughton is the only preacher I had ever heard evoke Pascal's Wager -- which is something he would do, occasionally thereafter at the mission. He would evoke Pascal's wager, yet again, last night [12/13/17].

Pascal's wager

Last night, Jimmy evoked Pascal's Wager. He did so near the end of his talk, citing …