Santa Clara and E streets in downtown Fresno. Let’s clean up Fresno and help the homeless. Send your contribution to the Community Alliance, P.O. Box 5077, Fresno, CA 93755. We will get trash bins and portable toilets into the homeless encampments to substantially improve their lives.

From the Editor

Mike Rhodes
Mike Rhodes

The City of Fresno has abandoned the homeless who live in tents on the sidewalks near the Poverello House. Trash was allowed to pile so high last month (see photo) that it began attracting rats and flies and became a health hazard.

Big Sue, a homeless woman who lives in the area, told me that a couple of years ago the city allowed a similar situation to develop. She said, “When the city finally cleaned it up, thousands of rats ran out of the garbage pile, across the freeway and into the city. Do they want to give Fresno the plague?”

Big Sue told me that she has dozens of homeless people that will help pay for a dumpster, which will keep the area clean if they can just get some help from the community. Fresno’s homeless czar, Greg Barfield, has told us that he and the city will not help the homeless with something as simple as a dumpster, so it is up to us.

I will contribute to the cost of a trash bin if you will help. In fact, if we get enough support, we can also provide the homeless with portable toilets. Contributions should be sent to the Community Alliance, P.O. Box 5077, Fresno, CA 93755 (include in the memo that the check is to help the homeless).

Rick Morse, from the Med Mar medical marijuana dispensary, was providing the homeless with dumpsters and portable toilets until a few months ago. Because of harassment from the City of Fresno, Med Mar had to discontinue its efforts to provide these basic services. We hope to pick up where Morse left off, addressing the needs of Fresno’s most needy.

It is criminal that the City of Fresno refuses to provide drinking water, trash pickup or portable toilets to this community’s most vulnerable citizens. City representatives have tried to take the moral high ground with me on this issue, claiming that they are looking forward and trying to get the homeless into housing. I have even been accused of trying to keep the homeless in poverty by attending to their immediate needs.

I believe that city representatives posturing on this is shameful and I’m sure our readers can see through their right-wing agenda.

They want to give the illusion of helping the homeless without even providing them with the most basic of services. But the question is, Will you take up the challenge to actually help the homeless that need your assistance right now, and reject the city’s vague promise about helping them at some future date? If so, send us your contribution today and we will see that 100% of it goes to help the homeless most in need of assistance.

  • Mike Rhodes is the executive director of theCommunity Alliance newspaper and author of the book Dispatches from the War Zone, about homelessness in Fresno. www.mikerhodes.us is his website. Contact him at mikerhodes@comcast.net.

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