Thursday, December 3, 2015

From the Frying Pan into the Fire

The situation in the Civic Center is deplorable, and if anyone knows how LA CAN managed to sue for adequate restrooms, I'd really appreciate the input.  

Sanitation and clean food are basic human rights, and our County's response makes me believe they are not yet competent to run a $6 Million dollar shelter in a cost-effective manner.  If this same County, after three Shigella outbreaks, cannot provide enough toilet tissue and another 12 hours of toilet availability to forestall another public health crisis, what good is a rental-assistance shelter going to do but deplete the budget needed for real help for the chronic homeless?  

It merely centralizes the Rapid Rehousing program already capably administered by a number of non-profits spread throughout the County.  Without an adequate transportation plan, there is no reason to believe that centralizing such services will serve the homeless.  It will instead, serve the Social Services Department and replace a number of capable charities throughout the County.  It is balkanization unworthy of GOP members who insist on local control of service programs.

The SNAP Restaurant Meals Program would give the chronic homeless clean food, a restroom with hot and cold running and soap, WiFi, and refills on coffee and sodas.  It would also afford them the dignity of becoming customers. It would allow them to pursue health concerns now funded by the ACA, and they might even find jobs that could lift them from the prison purchased for them through ineptitude and a crass need to "get everything under one roof" so they can figure things out.  Put a virtual roof over the Civic Center and use it for practice.  20 years later and things are worse.  An "emergency shelter" that requires reservations is a blatant fraud upon the voters and taxpayers of OC.  There is a widely accepted (except here) federal definition for an "emergency shelter" and reservations are never needed.  This County has only 400 emergency beds, and only between December first and April first.  The shelter plan proposed would actually eliminate 200 emergency beds by closing the Fullerton Cold Weather Shelter.  Our County is the first to take lethal advantage of global warming. 

Twenty years is long enough to survey the survival needs of the poorest among us.  The Civic Center is a living example of the horrific prison our current administration offers.  Without an intervention by people of conscience, the least of these will suffer hunger, disease and possibly death from hypothermia in one of the richest Counties in America.  

You are welcome to join me each Wednesday at 8:30AM to meet the poor and hear first hand their struggle to survive.  We serve coffee and conversation in Parking Lot P4.  Please join us.  There's a lot wrong in the OC, and we must speak out.