Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tell Libby NOT to build her wall

An article in today's [9/21/16] Bee, "Charity seeks $200,000 for homeless 'memorial wall'" tells us that Libby Fernandez, the Director of Loaves & Fishes, the homeless-aid charity north of downtown Sacramento on 12th Street, has determined that she needs $200,000 to pay for a wall to honor deceased homeless people as the centerpiece to the new $2 million Friendship Park she is building to replace the perfectly good Old Friendship Park that is about 20 yards away.

Quoting the Bee article written by excellent Bee reporter Cynthia Hubert:
The original wall [in the old park], installed in 1990, lists 556 names and has run out of space, Fernandez said.
"We need a new wall," she said. "It's so important. It speaks to the value of homeless lives. It says that even if your family has forgotten you, we will always remember you."
There are many things absurd about this whole idea.

One is that $200,000 is a lot of money for a list of names. Another element of absurdity is the notion that Loaves & Fishes will be around forever to host the names of homeless people who have died.

And, What does it mean that Loaves & Fishes, a charity that we all hope will go out of business in a decade or so (when housing is cheaply available through 3D printing) will "remember" people?

$200,000 would pay for the housing of homeless people THAT IS NEEDED NOW. At the rate of $400 per mo. for each person, $200,000 would pay for 21 people to have two years of rented housing.

Another absurdity. We have the Internet nowadays. A detailed record of every homeless person who has died, with pictures and data and kind words spoken by relatives and friends can be posted at an elegant website and truly be around forever and at a tiny cost -- just what little it costs to set up and maintain a website. Too, there can be a curator for this data who can search online for more data and more pictures, making a big bundle of memorabilia for each deceased person.

Also, using amazing current-day technology, the List of Names can be set up in a safe interior space where people can hear appropriate music when the names are listed on a scrolling apparatus.


This Wall thing that Libby wants to build and get Mexico -- oops, I mean gullible rich people -- to pay for is a spectacular waste of money because any $200,000 that is donated or is air-dropped from space onto the L&F property would be of great benefit in getting LIVING homeless people housing.

In this Century, there has been a 15-year plan to house homeless people, that was scuttled for a 10-year plan to house all the homeless. Both these long-period-of-years efforts never got out of the starting blocks. Let us focus, wake up and ACTUALLY DO THE HOUSING FIRST THING without getting distracted and, again, ending up doing little or nothing to get homeless folk the nice enjoyable lives many of us truly want for them.


Call or write Libby, y'all, and tell her not to waste so very much money on a wall. Indeed, don't do any wall thing at all.

Another thing: If rich people who are so loaded (that is, with money, not with bourbon) that one-hundred-dollar bills fall out of their pockets when they're walking down the street, want to do something good for the world, here is the VERY BEST thing you could do: For $3.500 you can SAVE THE LIFE OF A CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF FIVE. In writing what I just did in this paragraph, I am not talking about preventing abortions. What I am talking about is the staggering death toll of young pre-school age children in Africa who die -- tragically -- most often from diarrhea. For just a few thousand dollars, the entire life of a real person can be saved. DO THAT, rich people, instead of donating to Libby's "construct a damn wall" idea.

Alternately, Kind Rich People, you can donate money to Housing First. Helping sad homeless people become glad housed people is a way to save a life, too. Call your city-council representative, or county supervisor for your district for information on how your money can be used for Housing First.

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