Donald Trump has decided to focus his attention of the homeless population of California. Not New York, Florida, or Texas, but in a state that he lost the popular vote of over 3 million, and had seen a steady increase of democratic strong holds. I guess demoralizing immigrants wasn’t horrendous enough, he figures he’ll attack another group to make a problem that never existed. He is using the plight of the homeless population as a political ploy to demonize democrats and pretend that he has the answer to solve the problem.
There’s been a lot of talk about the homeless problem in California. Let me set the record straight and say that it’s not only in California. There are homelessness throughout every state in America, but the reason why we have a large share of the population, because we take care of our homeless. We provide services to help them get back on the feet and maintain a better life. Most of the states just want to put them in warehouses, or building that wasn’t designed to house people in out of the way places. These places are usually outside of the normal population so they can be out of site, out of mind. The problem with housing them on the outskirts of town, it is hard for them to seek out assistance or social programs that helps them out of poverty or mental health, or whatever services are available. They end up in a never ending cycles of not being able to go anywhere since they are kept in the middle of nowhere. There are two factors that creates a need for the homeless to head out to California, 1) the weather is nice all years round, and the services for the mentally ill and the homeless is many times better than the rest of the country.
45 million people live in California out of 300 million in the entire United States. We have more population in one state, than 15 of the smaller states combined. Homeless tends to migrate to warmer weather during the winter time, then go back to their home states during the summer months to be around family and people they are familiar with. As far as the number of homeless their is in California, it depends on what part of the year it is. The California Homeless Outreach Organization do a yearly homeless count every January. January tends to be one of the months with the highest homeless population because of the severe cold weather in over three-fourths of the United States. Those number always decrease during the summer months as they return back to their home states.
In San Diego, we take care of the homeless and treat them in a humane way. We have year round homeless shelters provided by Catholic Charities at Father’s Joe Villages, and through the Mission Center that is centered close to downtown so they can be close to the services they need to assist them and their families. They accommodate over 1,000 beds for single men and women and have room to house on average 34 families. They also house another 400 military homeless through a program called the per diem rehabilitation program. They go through a very strict program to better their lives. They get job training, education classes, meals, bedding, credit repair assistance, housing assistance, medical and dental services through a fully staffed medical and dental facility on the same complex. They also have on staff of mental health counselors, an outreach program of government run programs and service providers. There’s even a mobile medical clinic that goes to outer parts of the city to provide up to date medical exams and services, then provides them with no cost medication through a private pharmacy program. They also provide two emergency shelters during the winter rainy seasons of November through April that sleeps an additional 1500 homeless.
Yes we have homelessness, but the face of the homeless has changed over the years. It is not as much of drugs and alcohol abuse as it is now more oh homeless families with children who were living paycheck to paycheck and was only one paycheck away from being homeless. They also have a quick turn around program that is a short term approach to provide working families, who through no fault of their own, a chance to go through a credit repair program and help them get a chance to find permanent house through a program called the Rapid Housing Program (RHP).
I know these programs exist and works because I was a work coordinator for Father Joe’s Villages as an unpaid volunteer. I help them get temporary day jobs to provide them with a little spending money for personal items. But, California is not the only state that have a homeless problem, (and I use that term for those who don’t know any difference), for a few years I worked for the United Way in Las Vegas who also ran a homeless shelter. They would house about 1,000 homeless people at any given time. When ever there were more people seeking beds, we would allow them to stay in a section of the parking lot under temporary shelters or tents while they wait to enter the program. This keeps them from being harassed by others.
I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but it hurts me when I read articles that inflate the real problem to satisfy their readers and try to make a name for themselves, over a crisis that don’t really exist in the same way that people are led to believe. It is not fair to label the homeless, who through no fault of their own most of the time, as bums, drunks, druggies, or mentally ill, and at the same time label entire cities as people who don’t care or don’t want to solve the problem.
We care, we probably care more about the homeless than most of the other cities throughout the entire United States., and in regards to the numbers, there is always a true story behind the numbers, and people always tend to ignore or believe what they hear versus what is factual. I try not to get upset or mad at people who write those very same articles who don’t even have first knowledge of the facts to begin with.
I am saddened that people don’t really try to understand the stigma and depression these families face day in and day out, and don’t even try to find out what they can do to help out. It’s not just California that has homeless, there’s homelessness through out the country, and this is a world that we created, not just me or you, or someone else that created this world, it’s everyone single one of us that created this world we live in. We let this happened, we didn’t find a way to help out to begin with. We just swept it under the rug, because no one wanted to face the fact that our society created these type of people, and pretended it never existed. It’s a world that we created and it’s our world that has to correct and take care of.
Tyler Perry once was homeless in New York City until one day he wrote a play about his grandmother named Madea, Yes that’s a M, and a A, and a D E A, Madea, that ended up on Broadway and eventually made him a millionaire with his own movie studio on par with Oprah Winfrey. So before you kick someone to the curb when he’s down on his luck, because you never know what the future will bring. It might be you that end up on the streets while that man you kicked to the curb could be living in your house.
So don’t judge a man by the way his looks and appearance, but for the integrity of his character.