Skip to main content

Winter-shelter funds, the mission, the coming storm and inefficiency

Funnelling people to motel rooms as the modus operandi of the winter shelter effort this year needs to be refined. From indicators last night and this morning, an overabundance of motel vouchers have been distributed to "the wrong" people.

Last night, there were ten or twelve empty beds in the Union Gospel Mission dorm for guests, which can, and usually does, accommodate sixty men.

Why were there only 48 or 50 men in the dorm instead of the usual sixty?

Well, let's back up. There are several factors at play that explain crowding at the dorm that it is helpful to understand. The mission guests, as a crowd, have their own monthly and seasonal rhythms.

On about the first day of a month a great many of the solo men in Homeless World get checks. Most of those in this subset of the guys use the majority of their money on alcohol, cigarettes, crystal meth and/or marijuana with a lesser amount of their funds going toward motel stays.

Of course, each guy is unique, and there are varietions on this theme, but, generally, the guys who get checks and have habits (which can include or be other addictions, such as porn, gambling, being with women, being with men, eating at expensive restaurants, et al) go through their cash very fast. By midmonth, the "money on the street" has pretty much all been spend.

What this means, then, is that beds at the mission are much much more available toward the beginning of a month than near the end of a month. [Because guys are staying on the street or in motels or just elsewhere to sip, sniff and trip.] This is well known to the mission staff, guys who regularly stay at the mission, the Bannon Street Irregulars and the police and emergency services.

Bad-weather conditions play a part in mission crowding, though, too. If it's cold or wet or a storm is in the offing, that brings into the dorm the Bannon Street Irregulars or others who had been staying outside.

So NOW, though it's early in the month, the mission should be crowded. A storm is brewing. The fact that an amazing ten or twelve dorm beds were empty is an indicator of a lot of guys from the near-the-mission crowd having gotten motel vouchers.

It is VERY apparent that the winter shelter effort is being very inefficient.

Were guys out with one-day motel-stay vouchers, the inefficiency would be minor. But from what I hear, guys are getting one-week or thirty-day motel stays and some are getting rooms all to themselves.

AND, just as "bad," the winter-shelter effort isn't taking people in off the streets.  That is, it ISN'T taking homeless people who WOULD HAVE BEEN WET AND COLD and making them dry and warm.  It appears just to be moving people from the dry, warm mission shelter to dry and warm motel rooms that the winter-shelter fund [which comes from the city, county and private donations of some sort] pays for.  In other words ― allow me to be quite clear ― winter-shelter money is being wasted to some non-trivial extent.


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 …