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Homeless: The Band-Aid Fallacy

Not long after the public launch of Stanislaus County’s “Focus on Prevention” program in October of 2015, Joseph Dean Dodd knew he had to do something positive for homeless people and do it soon. Dodd’s own experience as a homeless person and his position as President and Pastor of Church in the Park give him […]

Forget Affordable — it’s Time for Tiered Housing Options

Well over six years after Stanislaus County launched its “Focus on Prevention” program to reduce homelessness, local streets, parks, riversides, freeway margins and the undersides of bridges are full of people with nowhere to go. The situation is the same throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Statewide, efforts to place homeless people in shelters, hotels, and […]

Homeless and Mentally Ill: the Families

Sadie Koch was stunned when she learned a few weeks ago that her sister, Mary Baca, is homeless. Though she hadn’t seen her in well over three years, Sadie, who lives in Escalon, thought Mary was still living in Modesto with her friend and partner Linda.* The sisters had never been particularly close, but reunited […]

Busting the Homeless: Wasted Dollars?

Call him Martin. He’s a homeless man and meth user. In the last year, he’s been in jail four times and in the hospital twice. His jail time has ranged from a few days to several weeks. His last hospital stay was almost six weeks. Then there’s the Oakdale man who’s periodically arrested for misdemeanors […]

Homeless: The Cruel Futility of Sweeps

Most homeless people spend almost all their time in public places. The chief reason is simple: There’s nowhere else to go. Yes, there are shelters at night, but they’re often full in bad weather. Pets and couples aren’t allowed (couples are split up). You take in and out only what you can carry. There’s no […]

Homeless Facing Winter Crisis

Most of us have welcomed our rainy December and recent temperatures below freezing. The rain means a chance to begin replenishing lakes and reservoirs and the cold weather means snow in the mountains, a harbinger of much-needed spring runoff. But for the homeless, the wet and cold are nothing less than life-threatening. Last week’s heavy […]

Faces of the Homeless: Matt

Several weeks ago, when Matt Payne showed up at Beard Brook Park with a black eye and a face full of cuts and bruises, word got around that he’d been beaten by the police. Even though few knew why, everyone knew he’d been in jail and only recently gotten out. Matt had been known to […]

Homelessness—the Numbers Game

Take a country—any country—and destroy its manufacturing base by sending jobs overseas. Make sure no alternative job base develops. In the same country, see that wages, including the minimum wage, remain static for almost forty years; further reduce jobs through automation, computerized information systems, outsourcing, and downsizing. Simultaneous to job and wage reduction, in that […]

Homeless: Who is Mary Baca?

After over a month on the streets, Mary Baca still has her nice watch and amethyst ring. That’s probably because she was lucky enough to wander into a park where Phil Ham and his long-time homeless friends often spend their days. At sixty-two years old, Ham likes to joke that Mary, fifty-four, is too old […]

Dave Lopez: Not the Leader We Need

In his first term as a Modesto City Councilman, we thought Dave Lopez brought a welcome presence to local politics. His “everyman” qualities, gregarious nature, and love of Modesto made him an appealing representative of Modesto citizens. Over the years, Lopez began to look more and more like an opportunistic politician than the people’s representative. […]