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Ron Herbert, San Clemente

San Clemente citizens and government who do not support shelters for the homeless are being shortsighted and irresponsible. The letter to the editor last week titled “In Response to Homeless Intolerance” is a perfect example. Asking “delusional church people” to invite homeless into their homes shows a complete misunderstanding of how the situation should be handled.

Merely giving food and bedding would not solve homelessness. Professional shelters do much more than offer food and bedding. They attempt to provide a way out of homelessness by providing professional counseling on subjects such as drug addiction, mental illness, job acquisition and access to permanent housing.

The San Clemente City Council has promised to establish a temporary shelter, but they have said nothing about providing services to help the homeless get out of homelessness. Also, San Clemente’s decision to fight the federal edict is expensive and nonproductive. It will not solve the problem. The money the city is spending to fight federal law would be better used to solve the situation by supporting professional homeless shelters.

By not providing these shelters, we merely perpetuate the problem of homelessness.

If we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem.

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comments (7)

  • I work, pay my bills, follow the law… yet I’m “part of the problem”?? Sad what this state is putting up with in regards to the homeless.

  • I work, pay my bills, follow the law, etc… yet I’m part of the problem?? It’s a sad state of affairs when we stop holding people accountable for their actions and start shifting blame to hard-working, decent citizens.

  • How can you say that homelessness is the problem? Addiction and apathy are the problem! We have tons of services available for those who are homeless due to circumstances out of their control. The problem we have in San Clemente is not homelessness. We have people who don’t want help. They are content in their beachfront tents, drinking and taking drugs with no consequences not responsibilities. If they truly wanted help, they would be willing to enter into any addiction program they could get into. Instead, they see the “nomadic free-for-all” lifestyle as a perk and ARE THE PROBLEM! How dare you say it’s because we don’t have a shelter! I knew a man in La Habra when I used to work there who was homeless. He showed up every day at one of the city facilities and asked if he could volunteer as he needed to get new work skills. They noticed his work ethic and desire to change his situation and worked with him to secure a job and a place to live. THAT IS HOMELESSNESS that needs help. Giving addicts permission to destroy not o my their own lives, but the community they live in is the problem!

  • true
    i do not know of edict approved federal land that they may be shipped to except , the marine base ? but i do know short of kidnapping the majority of the problem wont go to a shelter because of health and safety and shelter policy rules
    so Mr edict please ship our stagnate homeless indigenous refugee problem to federal land
    maybe some screaming drill Sargent’s and some boot camp experiences might help

  • I am a local pastor and I have a son who is homeless due to mental illness. We have done everything we can to get him into the services that are available but either the services promised were not really available or he wasn’t considered homeless enough or mentally ill enough to qualify. This ultimately led him to the place where he doesn’t trust the system. The problem isn’t the City of San Clemente. They have done a tremendous job in offering services to homeless individuals.

    Through our experience, we’ve learned there are 6 homeless populations. Not just one.
    1. There are those who are homeless due to mental illness. The only way to help this group is to change the laws in Sacramento. Governor Brown refused to change the definition of what it means to be gravely disabled so that families like ours could access services. Instead he signed a bill to spend billions of dollars on programs that aren’t working. To really help the mentally ill that are homeless we need laws changed to give parents conservatorship over their kids.

    2. There are also those who are kicked out of rehab centers after being lured by clever marketing. The laws need to change to require rehab centers to pay to send clients back to their place of origin instead of kicking them out on the street. As a pastor, my wife and I have tried to help those who have been kicked out of rehabs… but what should happen are the rehabs should be required to pay to send them back.

    3. There are those who are homeless due to addiction. They need treatment. Orange County has an accountability court for the mentally ill who are homeless and it requires them to be under a doctor’s care as part of their probation. I don’t see why we don’t do this for those who are addicted and homeless… but laws need to change to require homeless addicts to come under court mandated treatment. It requires a change in Sacramento.

    4. There are those who are homeless because they are criminals. My son has educated me on the subculture of homeless people and has helped me to understand there are murderers, drug dealers, theives, rapists, sexual preadators who are released from jail and go homeless to avoid detection so they can continue living a criminal lifestyle. They are the ones that often move from city to city and these should simply not be allowed to be in our cities and really belong in jail.

    5. There are those who choose homelessness because they’ve checked out of society. As much as I believe America is the land of the free, freedom doesn’t give them the rights to set up camp wherever they feel like it. Our laws provide homeowners with rights to a safe place to live and there are plenty of campgrounds, work farms, hostiles and other places for a transient population to live… but it’s not illegal to be homeless so there is no motivation for this population to adhere to any laws for decency. They tend to gravitate to the beach… who wouldn’t… and create problems for families wanting to use public facilities. Again the laws need to change to give rights to citizens to provide a healthy place for their children to be raised in.

    6. The final group are those who experience a loss or tragedy like divorce or a death and find themselves homeless due to circumstances. This group is the most motivated to get back to a normal life and this is the group that responds best to public services. This is the group that provides the best statistics for success and they do take advantage of the many services offered by city, county and state social services.

    If you notice… I never once suggested that a shelter is the answer because a shelter is not the answer. I have yet to see a city with shelters really impact the problem of homelessness. It is a complicated, multifaceted problem that requires new state leadership that will pass the laws needed to make for real change. Until the laws change, the cities and families are extremely limited in the real help they can provide. All shelters actually do is allow cities to declare homelessness as illegal and now you have to go to a shelter and if you don’t we can drop you off at the city limits and make you leave in a legal fashion. It doesn’t actually solve the problem. Solving the problem means coming up with solutions to deal with all 6 different scenarios for homelessness and it’s more than a city issue, it’s a legal issue and that means a different government for California that will take these issues seriously and stop throwing tax dollars at solutions that don’t work and start changing laws so that families like mine can get real help.

    • great job very articulate like building a house break it down into manageable pieces
      i have several ideas that may help but i need help presenting them ?
      if you have time for a cup of coffee ill buy :::::::(-:P

      • Great George… I’m at Calvary Chapel San Clemente every Sunday. We meet at 10 am. Maybe you can come to one of our services and we could make an introduction and then schedule a time to have coffee.

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