The Outreach Committee and Homelessness on the Mountain
by Sue Walker
Members who have direct contact with homeless people in Running Springs and Crestline brought the issue of their needs to the Outreach Committee. Through contacts with the county we learned the Sheriff’s Dept. had the H.O.P.E. Program (Homeless Outreach Proactive Enforcement) and that the Dept. of Public Health has the HOST Program (Homeless Outreach Support Team). Both organizations alerted the Outreach Committee that they would come up the mountain to assess the homeless situation.
Iris Walters purchased non-perishable food items and the Outreach Committee put the food in lunch bags with a case of water. The idea was to hand out the food and water to the homeless when they visited with the county on Oct. 19th. Unfortunately, no homeless came to the meeting in Goodwin’s parking lot, but a good conversation was had by the county and the committee. The county’s primary focus is providing housing vouchers to the homeless. These vouchers are for off the mountain. Bev Rios from Hearts and Lives also attended and provided helpful information as well. She took the food and water and has already handed some of it out to the homeless that she sees on a weekly basis.
The county and the committee walked around the Crestline Library and observed the homeless encampment in the back of the library in the stormwater ditch. There are contracts to have this area “cleaned out” because of El Nino rains this winter. We hear that some of the homeless in Crestline will stay on the mountain this winter in tents. The majority of the homeless in Running Springs have moved down the hill for the winter. We know of two churches in Running Springs who are active with ministry to help the homeless.
To continue our education regarding the homeless, the Outreach Committee invites the church to attend a talk by Bev Rios on Sunday January 24th after the 10 am service. We will find out the needs and strengths of the homeless on the mountain.
Thank you and God Bless!