I am elated to see that our Basin is FINALLY going to address our homeless population. We need more than JUST a drop in site, but it’s a start. What is even more upsetting to me is some residents have that “Not in my backyard” attitude. Guess what? If we don’t help out our homeless population, they WILL be in your backyard!

Imagine what it would be like to lose your job, then your home, and finally the car you’ve been living in because it quit running or was towed away. Imagine sleeping in the grass at Reach Out Morongo Basin because there is no other place. Imagine having no place to store food properly because there is no refrigeration. Imagine telling your children that you can’t go home because you no longer have one? I’m so distressed to see that we, America, have lost our humanity — our empathy is gone, we don’t care about anyone else but ourselves.

Many years ago, we were homeless. We had been paying rent faithfully for over five years to an outfit only to find out later that they never owned or managed our home. We were given three days to move. It takes at least two paychecks to support a growing family, and most places want first and last month’s rent, and a security deposit. This can add up pretty quickly and if you have little to no savings, finding another home is near impossible. We actually moved to Oregon because they had family shelters! Living there gave us an opportunity to find employment, save money to afford a home. They put us in a transitional apartment for three months so we could save to get into a place of our own! I remember hearing my babies cry at night because all they wanted was to go home — we take that phrase for granted.

We need more transitional housing; I was so happy to hear on the news that we will have a few — but that’s not enough! A homeless shelter is what we need, and not just a drop-in! We jail those severely poor families when they squat and build “makeshift” homes — we take their children away, because they aren’t “living to our standards.”

I’m sickened every day by the “me only” attitude and even more from the apathy. It doesn’t hurt us to open our arms and give a hand to someone in need — there but for the grace of God, go I.

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