The Sanctuary is a homeless shelter and soup kitchen established in the South side of Santa Ramona City, Rookery Road.
Mayor Angelyna has pledged her support to tackling the homeless issue that haunts most Californian cities and the establishment of the shelter and soup kitchen is a welcome addition to a community which has high rates of homelessness and whose transient community is often prone to drug addiction and alcohol abuse issues although perhaps surprisingly this is also the case for some North side residents who are often treated in expensive rehabilitation centers for their issues but The Sanctuary steps in to help those who cannot afford expensive treatment clinics and works in conjunction with the South side Clinic to offer holistic treatment side by side.
The Santa Ramona Chronicles sat with Mayor Angelyna and asked her about her initiative that has come into fruition and opened it's doors to the community.
SRC: With CA slated as an expensive state to live in if not the most expensive, how do you plan to tackle homelessness which is one of this state's most prevalent issues?
Mayor A: The only way to tackle this is to dissect what causes it. Mental health issues, under employment, unemployment, drug addiction and being undocumented and unable to retain services or employment. There are other issues I am sure and finding those out are just as important. But starting from what we know, we've already made strides in this. We've partnered with the mental health professionals at the Southside Clinic. We've worked with initiatives for job training with Gateway House. We work with area business to offer sustainable jobs with good wages and room to advance. We decriminalized drugs to give addicts and moderate users a chance to rehabilitate instead of populate jail cells. The deputy mayor and I have gone far with the right track to tackle this on our streets.
Long term, hell, pie in the sky is that we don't need it one day. That's the long term we all should want.
Short term, well.. we want people to be safe. Have food and a roof, offers of help and real chances to change their lives. It's hard to trust out there, if you're on the streets everyone is at your back waiting to hurt you, rob you, arrest you or kill you. Sanctuary is a place to be free from that.
SRC: Are there any challenges you expect for the homeless shelter to face?
Mayor A: Same as any program that's not for profit and purely designed to help those that others deem undesirable, that it will be cut. There will be challenges, there will be difficulties, it's not a problem we can solve overnight. People that are homeless often have mental health issues, drug addiction issues and abuse/ptsd problems that carry through wherever they go. Challenges will come, whether i'm Mayor or not, I plan to keep going at them until we overcome.
SRC: How is the shelter funded?
Mayor A: It's partly city funding, partly donations, I put a lot into it of my own money. Working with other organizations I was able to gain federal grant funding too, which can sustain it in leaner times. There's a charity auction with Coastal Shipping, put on by Mancino Funeral Home that part of the proceeds will come to the shelter too. There will always be those in the community that care about working within the community to make change.
SRC: How much intake are you expecting?
Mayor A: Hard to say. It takes time to build trust that this facility isn't out to exploit or snitch on them. We've had traffic, beds have people in them, food is going to those that need it and always in need of canned goods and people to volunteer. There are some that come only for the food or medical care they get, some that want to look into finding a way out and some that just need a temporary place to stay and move on to their own place. We're here to serve them all.
SRC: What are your thoughts on the poverty situation and employment numbers in Santa Ramona?
Mayor A: My thoughts are that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer in most cases. And yet there are some that are trying to make a difference in all the classes here. For the first time, I've seen more people that own businesses in Southside actually giving back to Southside. Hotel Cortez offers employment to those that work hard and want a chance to move up, Hash House is helping those that need to learn a trade do so, the aforementioned charity auction, our Southside Clinic and many other hands are being put in together to help with the poverty in our community and to raise up individuals with gainful employment and real help. I urge more of our businesses from all parts of our fair city to get off their asses and do something for the community that needs it most.
With the lack of public housing in the city also underserving this vulnerable section of society, the homeless at least have The Sanctuary to rely on in their time of need.