When a Homeless Man Finds a Home – Week 478 on March 14, 2018.

SPIRIT of Santa Paula is committed to ending homelessness.

Something great happened this past week to meet that goal. There is a new housing program designed for homeless seniors, at least 62 years old with a documented disability. It was not an easy task to get him approved. The questions now are whether or not he will be able to marry his long-time girlfriend who is only 60 so they can live together. And, will he be able to continue dog-sitting her dog during the day while she works at a part-time job?

The task of finding a homeless person over 62 years old with a documented disability who does not have a criminal background, who doesn’t have substance abuse in his past or present and is sweet and even-tempered is not easy. This effort took eight letters of recommendation, two letters from his doctor and the nod from the Chief of Police.  We are told the unit will be ready at the end of March.

There are several bright sides to this story. One there will be one less homeless person to worry about. One is a lot when you’re the one, right?

Tanya is a female about 46 years old who lives at the river and picks lemons right alongside the men.  Her teeth have become so infected and loose that she can hardly eat.  I’m happy to report that she was fitted for dentures this week and will let me show you her picture before and after.  I just know they are going to be amazing. She is the biggest fan of the Care Pod shower program. When she talks about her hot shower she closes her eyes recalling the uplifting feeling that comes with feeling clean and fresh.

I can’t thank the wonderful people at the Ventura Health Care Agency enough for being a partner is caring for the whole person with a Santa Paula zip code.  Sincere thanks to Woody and Vern for the fabulous piece of equipment and the County  personnel who make their way to the host church, El Buen Pastor, each Friday to meet and greet our homeless visitors.

Then there is Tom from the Drug and Alcohol Division of Whole Person Care who visits the Drop-In Center making friends with those who have had too much to drink or are high. One guest has already asked for help and rehab.  Without Tom checking in on him, it wouldn’t have happened in the same way.

A local angel provided a supply of tarps and ponchos for wet weather use.  Once the homeless get wet, they stay that way until a change of clothes is made available. Many of them get sick and use the emergency room for the primary physician care.  SPIRIT is going to ask the County to commission a study on the cost of health care for the homeless population. I know that the cost of housing is much cheaper.

Food Rescue from the School District is making a big difference on the amount of wasted food being dumped into the landfills. We are able to serve much more commercially prepared food. Whatever you think of global warming, the impact of organic material in the landfill cannot be dismissed.  Here are some interesting links.

An important part of the California Department of Resources Recycling is Organic Materials Management 

Recovery’s mission is to increase the diversion of organic materials away from landfills and toward the production of value-added products such as compost, fertilizers, and biofuels.

Organic waste accounts for more than a third of the material in California’s waste stream. Greenhouse gas emissions caused by the decomposition of organic material in landfills contribute to global climate change. Reducing the amount of organic material sent to landfills is part of the AB 32 (California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006) Scoping Plan, is fundamental to ARB’s Short Lived Climate Pollutant strategy, and is one of California’s strategies for reaching the statewide 75 percent recycling goal. Collecting and processing organic materials, particularly food, is also the focus of AB 1826, which mandates such efforts beginning April 1, 2016.

To stay informed on the latest information on organics issues, sign up for email updates by joining a CalRecycle listserv, such as “Organics Materials Management,” “Conversion Technologies,” or “Climate Change.”

Our meal tomorrow is Chicken Enchilada Casserole, hot buttered carrots from Garman’s Pub, Orange slices, chips, rice from El Pescador.   When it’s cold, fewer of the river people come top side, but we see them the next day at the Drop-In Center.  We are good with that.

Our Goal:  End Homelessness in Santa Paula  

When you shop Amazon, go to www.smile.amazon.com and specify SPIRIT of Santa Paula as your preferred charity. We are a 501C3 corporation.  EIN 27-0005506.

Donations are welcome at our website and facebook pages.

Kay Wilson-Bolton is the volunteer director of SPIRIT of Santa Paula.  She can be reached at 805.340.5025.

website is http://www.spiritofsantapaula.org.

Address is 113 North Mill Street, Santa Paula CA 93060.

Mailing address is: P.O. Box 728, Santa Paula CA 93061-0728

“Serving the least Powerful and Most Vulnerable People in our Community.”

The Good Neighbor Award 2017

 

 

 

​“Just as we remember her” – Week 470 at Many Meals January 17, 2018

I prepared you for Carol to pass away and she did last Friday around midnight. It was expected but still bitter in many ways. She didn’t have to die at the age of 49.  If only she had taken care of herself and allowed the system to operate. She was very fortunate to have received significant attention from people who know how to make things happen. But, if you don’t know what addiction feels like and how it controls your brain and motivates your behavior, you can’t know how hard it is to do the work of sobriety.

Her girls are very smart, talented and educated. They live their lives in the sunlight and have brought pride to our community and​  to the woman who raised them and to their mother. They organized a memorial for her at the Park on Sunday afternoon. It was the perfect setting but I felt like I was in the wrong place.

They chose a picture of Carol at the age of about 20 years old. She very beautiful, still innocent and unscathed by the ravages that would come.  They spoke sweet words about her life and challenges and struggles. Some of her friends spoke about her as though she lived a charmed life. Some came to the service who had stolen from her, sold her drugs and shut the door when she needed lodging, food and clothes.

I thought I was at the wrong service and felt the deepest pain. I realized the picture on her memorial folder and the sweet words spoken by daughters were of memories of the mother they want to remember. I will give them that. I left quietly with no words to speak until now.

Latino Town Hall and LULAC are working hard together to provide for the 11 families who were displaced at Limoneira Ranch. Thanks to Tresierras Supermarket, we received a generous year end gift and we shared it with Latino Town Hall, trustworthy colleagues who are doing such good work. Thank you to Art Tresierras for the vision and the gift.

The wonderful Jill Wallerstedt helped me complete a grant for a share of the Community Development Block Grant Funds being given to the County to benefit the homeless population. One of our grant requests is to fund the placement of four porta potties and trash bins in strategic locations to help with the obvious. Some would say the City of Santa Paula should do this, but I say “someone” should do it. We’ll see if we get funding.

The date that works for all for the formal launch event for the Care Pod in Santa Paula is Friday February 23 at 10:30 a.m.  I invite all of you to witness this innovate and very important piece of the Whole Person Care Program. I want you to meet the wonderful professionals who bring this to our community in our efforts to end, (that is END) homelessness in Santa Paula.

Our meal tomorrow is Shepherd’s Pie with mashed potatoes and gravy, marinated cucumbers, cooked butter carrots (thank you Garman’s Pub), rolls and butter and fresh tangerines. This is often the most nutritious meal of the week for many.

Thank you to all who help us with our work. We have a goal and a mission behind all of it. The motivation is to “love our neighbor.” They may not live next door, but they are in the neighborhood.

Kay Wilson-Bolton, Volunteer Director

SPIRIT of Santa Paula

a 501C3 Corporation founded in 2002
Serving the Least Powerful and Most Vulnerable in our Community
805.340.5025