Alhambra Source readers ask City to do more for homeless

Jesse Chang's opinion piece about the City of Alhambra stopping a local church from housing homeless families triggered a flurry of comments firing back against local politicians and advocating for social programs. Ten readers wrote in supporting the First Baptist Church of Alhambra’s attempts to host and feed families while providing career resources as part of the Family Promise program. Readers also strongly criticized city officials for citing zoning and safety laws as an obstacle to the homeless prevention program. Just one reader asked whether the program was the right solution, stating that homelessness is a regional issue – not a local one – and that some were being too harsh on Alhambra's council members.

Many commenters criticized the City for prioritizing other issues – such as business and development — rather than social services in Alhambra.

"I sometimes feel that I am living in another time here in Alhambra," writes a new reader, Eric, who also said that information about city affairs has been lacking for many years. "The compassion for those in need is not with those who are running this city. This program is so needed in these hard times and our city officials do not have a heart. Why are they like that? Thank you Jesse for bringing this to the light of day."

"Alhambra needs to wake up to the needs of people and stop looking for any way possible to keep up an image that ignores problems. The facts are in front of them that this is a program to help homeless people get permanent long term housing and not just gather large amounts of homeless and feed them and put them back on the street," John Lewis writes. "Thank you for bringing this issue to the public eyes and not let the city hide behind rules that are not at the benefit of the people in their community and keep them from putting a face and a name on the issue."

A long-time Alhambra resident wrote that the time has come for the city to reevaluate its policies. "I have been a resident of Alhambra for 54 years and have witnessed countless changes in the city's development and social structure," Yvonne Hahni writes. "The program of Family Promise is not opening floodgates of the homeless. There are times when we are forced to examine our value system and to determine, if we are willing to raise the bar not only in our private lives but also in our elected roles to govern a city. There is never a better time to do this than the present."

Jimmy Tam also wrote that local churches should be allowed to take over where the government falls short. “Alhambra city officials have always said that they are ‘business friendly,’” Tam writes. “There are too many needs out there for the government to handle. It is always the non-profits and the churches that help take care of people when the government's resources are limited or exhausted.”

Only one reader came to the City's defense, saying that homelessness isn’t easily solved by just one town. “There are homeless people everywhere,” Alhambra Resident writes. “They will go anywhere that will provide their needs. This is not just an Alhambra problem, but a REGIONAL issue. Perhaps more cities SHOULD WORK TOGETHER and stop picking on just one city.”

Neighbor added, that ultimately, the decision of the City's direction on these matters rests with the residents. "We are the City of Alhambra. If you dislike how the City is behaving, you need to get involved, let the council members know your opinion, and organize like-minded residents to make the change you wish to see," neighbor writes. "The City Council has regularly scheduled meetings; you can fill out a card to speak at the meeting about any topic you feel important. Details about meetings and their agendas are on the City web site: http://cityofalhambra.org/. Vote against the council members if you don't think they represent the best interests of the City. And elect someone who you think will do a better job to represent the city."

To which the author, Jesse Chang, responded, "It's good to remind people that it's not enough to just complain!"

4 thoughts on “Alhambra Source readers ask City to do more for homeless”

  1. I am homeless and there is a homeless grant , alhambra recieved this grant to help the homeless prevent long term homelessness.. I know not one person and i know many homeless in alhambra … and not one person has gone to the new builing on altlantic /main and had any help from the building that was built with our grant money and no one i know has even been given any sort of service from that changed our situation even a little.. they just used the money for a building that sends you in a big circle until you just give up or put your name on list that cant help you anyways for years… i wonder if i was a buisness i could just say i help the homeless will you build my office for me and then because they are able to get mail.. they might get more priority than the actual homeless without a mailing address to send the check … they obviously had the building all designed and top designer details, but i guess thats as far as it got..I say prove you helped someone in ahambra with the money they requested and were awarded to help homless… Prove it..

  2. homless in alhambra,

    the police harass you and make the situation feel more depressing.. not only are you homeless, the try to question you and basically embarass you, then finally they intimidate you further with the statemnent many of the peope i know and myself have been told… They try to explain how its illegal to be homless and they could arrest us in the city of alhambra” its a huge problem and they know where all of the homless people are .. but im not one to blow the whistle , if its illegal. but i know its not its just cold and impassionate. i agree with the above statements , no kids makes you even more worse off being the church and nonprofits/welfare help you only if you have children .. then you go to the top of the list.. but im glad im not homeless with children, i just cant have a child to get help and others i talk to act like they were thinking ahead.. i feel that should not be an incentive… just my opionion.. being embaressed makes it worse..i dont want to ruin my record when i dont have one, it would make it worse if the police make you go to jail and people would lose their things and keep them in the situation longer.. im talking about when they try to tear your car up for being homless in it.

  3. I applaud Alhambra Source for reporting on this situation & hopefully the city council recognize that there are homeless people/families in this city & hopefully take a strong leadership role to help homeless; but no, city council members are too busy giving the green light to over-development of the city with so many expensive condos

  4. We are here to speak for the ones who don’t have a voice.

    As Christians, we are commanded to help those who are in need. Please support the effort of the churches in Alhambra to provide positive, effective, and long-term help to families, parents and kids, who are struggling in this economic downturn. It is happening more and faster as the economy is continuing to go slower.

    Please support this initiative to voice out and let the church’s freedom to minister to the poor not be hindered by the uninformed and out-of-touch-with-reality politicians!!!

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