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Menifee is not afraid of the homeless


Last updated 12/11/2017 at Noon

In response to the Rev. Bill Freeman’s editorial of Nov. 10, regarding Menifee’s “Homelessophobia,” grass root organizations, municipalities, counties, states and the federal government offer any number of assistance programs for both the temporarily displaced and the monetarily challenged population. Causes of such turmoil range from uncontrolled natural disasters, such as flood, drought, fire and earthquake, to personal impositions like addiction, unemployment, divorce, personal loss, war and mental or physical illness, to name a few. None of these examples are mutually exclusive; some will even combine into a maelstrom of challenge for each of us, at one time or another.

At any time, attempting to understand the individualized sagas in Menifee, or Any City, U.S.A., when encountering an unkempt, distracted Jane Doe holding a tattered, cardboard sign of woe at the freeway off-ramp conjures up a real or an imagined hard luck story.

Dodging Freeman’s “homelessophobia” nomenclature is innate. In short, he implied that the Menifee City Council has an irrational fear of homeless people. Harrumph!

However, the good reverend indeed poses one valid question: Where are the homeless people supposed to go? Shouldn’t we ask them, first?

Well, I’m not even going there. For one man’s desire to reside in a basic, permanent dwelling is another man’s shackles, but queries have been conducted in Riverside County this year. According to a Press Enterprise article by Craig Shultz, “Homeless numbers up, or are they?” a federally mandated census, conducted Jan. 24, tallied 2,413 homeless adults and children across Riverside county. The 500 community volunteers, outreach staff and professionals from 130-plus agencies canvassed specific geographic regions.

The Riverside County Department of Social Services shares the results of the census in the “2017 Point-In-Time Homeless Count Data Report Summary.” Check out the website for similar reports at

link Not only is the Menifee City Council hard at work and on task, devising means and ways to educate and assist the homeless population in tandem with the community-at-large, with shelter providers, with constituents, with special interest groups, with law enforcement and with the Riverside County Board of Supervisors as evidenced in the aforementioned report, so are adjacent municipalities like Hemet, Beaumont, San Bernardino and Indio.

Menifee isn’t alone, and in my judgment, the city representatives are pro-actively evolving with the challenge to address homelessness, while maintaining order, safety and accountability to the residents – a seeming conundrum.

To somewhat diminish the conundrum, the DPSS website is replete with resources for the homeless, but a better question remains: do the homeless want what’s offered by any number of public and private concerns to begin life anew off the streets? Possibly. If I were to refer a homeless individual to available resources in lieu of a ten-spot, would they seek help? Possibly. That’s a start.


Lynda Giusti-Parra of Menifee


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