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Members of Christ Lutheran Church and St. Clement’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, San Clemente
San Clemente, as well as every other city in Southern California, has been the home for homeless for years. However, the recent “tent city” on the lawn of Ole Hanson Beach Club has sparked new outrage and judgment from housed residents. We have read with horror the threats of violence against homeless on social media. We are dismayed to hear music blared 24 hours a day at the Ole Hanson lawn area in an effort to drive off the homeless encamped there. The area has now been cleared and all bushes in the area removed. This is not how we would expect our citizens and leaders to behave, especially given the failure to provide alternative facilities for the homeless. We are calling for calm, compassion and an end to threats of violence against our most vulnerable neighbors.
Residents are demanding the campers move to another location. But there is nowhere else for these folks to move. Their mental states are fragile, sometimes because of long-term trauma, sometimes because of addiction. It is unlikely they can hold a job without support. They have broken relationships with family and friends, or their close networks have faded away through no fault of their own.
We follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, who told us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and “whatever you do to the least of your brethren, you do to me.” (Matthew 25:40)
We agree the situation has become dire. We, therefore, call for shelter, mental health services and an end of harassment to these most vulnerable residents of San Clemente.
Signed, Matthew Baumgartner; Pastor Brenda Bos, Christ Lutheran Church; Bridget Callanan and Gerry Loughman; Rev. Patrick Crerar, Rector St. Clements-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church; Kathy and Jim Ferguson; Judy and Norman Franz; Sue Fulks; Janice Genevro; Louise and Pat Gilliam; Ken Gilliland; Kirk Goodfellow; Jennifer Halbmaier; Linda Hardy; Kathy Hartl; Cheri and Steve Hopper; Tina Inglish; Mary-Frances Maddox; Melody Matthews; Barbara McCaffrey; Lynn McKenrick; Laura Pephens; Joe and Nancy Pohlot; Susan Rohde; Ron and Barbara Romaniello; Gail and Bob Rosemeyer; Rev. Dr. Eric Smith, St. Andrew’s by the Sea United Methodist Church; Rev. Lucy Stafford-Lewis; Ron Sukut, pastor Judie Thompson; Mary and Tom Whitman; Marilyn Wolf.