Skip to main content

Libby Fernandez: NOT a friend of the homeless

Loaf & Fish CEO Fernandez was profiled in the July 29 issue of the Sacramento Business Journal. In the piece she is quoted telling homeless-averse business people what they want to hear.  The first and third paragraphs in the profile follow [emphases mine]:

“Loaves and Fishes is the heart of downtown,” Sister Libby Fernandez said. “It’s a welcoming place for the very poor and homeless, and gives them a place to be during the day. We serve an average of 650 poor and homeless people each day, and if they weren’t here, they would be at other places downtown.
“When people who are homeless are here they can use our restrooms, our showers, wash up, get their clothes cleaned,” she said. They can use our telephones, sit in our park and just be, without disturbing other people and other businesses. They can socialize here, and get services and help here.”

In his book Managing the Underclass in American Society[1] John Irvin wrote about how the REAL effort in many metropolises is not to help the poor or homeless, but to corral them, to run them around in circles, to waste their time and to keep them out of public view.  Police -- prompted by politicians who are prompted by business people -- in metropolises where such a polity, called “Warehousing the Rabble,” is extant endlessly roust the homeless and otherwise keep ‘em out of “nice neighborhoods.”  Does that sound like Sac’to to you?  Yep.

And you know it’s true:  Homeless people in Sacramento get ticketed and arrested for conduct and actions that conventional citizens, doing the same activities, would never be bothered about by the police.  There are laws on the books that exclusively or near-exclusively are there targeting the homeless to make us behave like cattle.

Libby, with her quotes in the Biz Journal, proves her fealty to the Warehousing the Rabble philosophy and the business community, in opposition to suffering homeless people.  She is certainly NO friend of the homeless. It’s all a charade.  She shows that she does not support the right of the homeless to be treated the same as conventional Sacramento citizens.

Make no mistake, Libby is well known for delivering radically differing messages to suit the different audiences she addresses.  It’s called duplicity and Libby is shameless at it.  To the business world, she’s dutiful at keeping the stinky homeless away from the genteel public.  To donors and volunteers, she is Mother Teresa aiding the wretched.  To the homeless, she pretends to be a champion of the poor.  And to other groups, like the employees at Loaves & Fishes, the Jesuit volunteers, and the L&F Board of Directors, she has yet other masks.

A change at the top at Loaves & Fishes is overdue.  It is time, too, to end the duplicity and for Loaves & Fishes to embrace a new policy:  one of compassion and genuine interest in helping homeless people find meaning in their lives and opportunities to better their circumstance.

[1] Full title The Jail: Managing the Underclass in American Society


ckrd23315 said…
Tom - what specific changes would you recommend at Loaves & Fishes that would demonstrate "real compassion?"
Tom Armstrong said…

For starters, I have to turn your question around. The compassion HAS TO COME FIRST. The actions then come as a direct result of empathizing with the circumstance of being homeless.

So, new people on the Board of Directors of L&F is probably an unavoidable first step, resulting shortly thereafter with new management personnel.

Excellent management of Loaves & Fishes would be demonstrated with these hallmarks:

Reliable metrics of giving good service would be kept and reported with actions resulting if investigation shows that excellent, reliable, efficient service isn't being provided.

Homeless adults would be treated like adults, and just as they would be if they were 'conventional' Sacramento citizens.

Loaves & Fishes would not see it as its role to keep homeless citizens away from 'nice' neighborhoods. BUT, would instead, see its role as one of giving each homeless person as open an opportunity as is possible to have a robust meaningful life.

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 …