Faith Community’s Support Sought for Ventura Council’s Homeless Shelter? You’re being played
By Paul D. White
Ventura churches, don’t be fooled into supporting the City Council’s new homeless shelter plan. It is neither Christian nor compassionate, and will benefit neither the homeless nor our community. EVERY attempt by the City Council to elicit your approval of this project is total deceit on their part. The Council and Community Development staff promoting this project are using your sympathy for the needy to manipulate support for their self-serving agenda. Meanwhile, they repeatedly mock your spiritual values which they do not share.
Not one thing the Council has told the churches about this homeless shelter plan is true.
• The Council’s “Temporary” homeless shelter plan is NOT temporary. The proposal allows for residents to stay a year or longer.
• The Council’s plan would NOT help the homeless with their drug/alcohol abuse, their mental illness, or their lack of employment. It would not help heal these issues, because clients would NOT be required to seek help for them.
• The Council’s plan for a “wet house” shelter (where residents are allowed to keep using drugs and alcohol) does NOT have a “national reputation for success” as the Community Development Department falsely claims. Wet houses have NOT reduced 911 calls in the cities where they’ve been tried. They merely allow the steady flow of police cars and ambulances to go to more centralized locations. It has NOT resulted in more employment or more treatment for mental illness because neither one is required of residents. Wet houses have NOT saved taxpayers’ money. The annual costs of these programs steadily rise, while the federal funding level does not. The shortfall is made up only through increasing local taxes.
• The Council’s plan for “wet house” shelters would NOT reduce the number of homeless causing problems on the streets. Having a confirmed place to sleep each night would simply allow the homeless-by-choice vagrants to stay out later in our neighborhoods, abusing drugs/alcohol and committing crimes, because they wouldn’t have to scramble for a place to sleep.
• The Council’s plan would NOT limit these “wet house” shelters to the Market Street industrial park area. The City already has “secondary locations” mapped out that could include virtually ANY neighborhood in Ventura, including renting a house next door to yours. Under the federal guidelines attached to the funding Ventura is accepting for this misadventure, your neighborhood would have few – if any ways to oppose this encroachment.
• The Council’s plan WILL greatly increase Ventura’s population of chronic vagrants, because no other city in the county has committed to such a disaster-in-waiting program.
The foundational flaw with the Council’s homeless shelter plan, is that it’s built on a lie. The federal government’s starting premise for funding these activities is a city’s attesting that “there is a lack of adequate services for the homeless in our community”. That is simply NOT true in Ventura.
Food? Ventura has 10 food pantries , EACH of which will give you more food than you can eat. Don’t want to cook? The Ventura County Rescue Mission has been serving 2 large, excellent meals per day, 7 days per week, for the past 47 years!
Housing? There are at least 3 live-in, mission programs in the Ventura/Oxnard area, ALL of which have open beds. Additionally, there are several hundred clean/sober beds in this same area, where about $600/month makes you part of a home community that is clean, safe, supportive, crime free, and tolerates NO drug/alcohol use. How much do these privately-operated missions and clean/sober homes cost local taxpayers? Not $1. (The $600/month “rent” is easy to come up with when the vagrants redirect the entitlement support they currently spend on drugs/alcohol).
Mental Health and Addiction Treatment? Our county is over-flowing with countless, diverse out-patient programs. For the very small percentage requiring hospitalization, beds are available.
In the Bible gospels, Jesus Christ was asked what the most important commandment was for his followers. He responded that besides loving God, the most urgent obligation was “loving your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39, et al.) For ALL our churches, here is exactly why the Council’s plan to “wet house” shelter the homeless is not Christian in any way.
Who among us, if we had a “neighbor” (friend, family) who was struggling with mental health and substance abuse, would put them in a place that would not only ALLOW, but would de facto ENABLE them to continue with self-harming behaviors until they were destroyed by them? The “wet house” shelter model Ventura is proposing is nothing but a homeless hospice, where sick people needing help are taken to die, instead of receiving treatment for curable problems in programs that DEMAND changing their values and lifestyles.
The Council’s homeless shelter plan is misguided and should not be supported by any church. Instead, people of faith should wisely live what they profess, and HEAL this situation in our community. They should demand that the City use the effective, proven programs and resources that already exist. Churches would then be fulfilling the biblical directive to house, feed and provide for the needy in a way that genuinely heals and blesses, as opposed to “storing” pitiful individuals in programs with no moral foundation, while they kill themselves with continued substance abuse.
Invest 5 minutes in this USA-Focus.org non-partisan, strictly factual brief on the real situation with our schools. It will calm your fears of Ms. DeVos being able to do any more damage than has already been done.
Paul D. White is director of the Stronghold Institute and a Co-Director www.USA-Focus.org, a nonpartisan, non-profit foundation dedicated to providing facts and insightful solutions about key issues.You can email him at email@example.com.
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