Bishop City Council addresses services for the homeless

By Deb Murphy

Brett Newman, with Calvary Baptist Church, Douglas Cooper and Tom Downey addressed the Bishop City Council several weeks ago, asking for a discussion on homelessness, specifically the possibility of a winter shelter.

The City responded Monday with a presentation by Elaine Kabala, associate planner. Kabala focused on a directory of services provided by Inyo Mono Advocates for Community Action, one of the partners in the tri-valley Consortium of Care.

Under housing services, emergency shelter can be provided with hotel/motel vouchers, when available, through Calvary Baptist Church, Crossroads Church, Inyo County’s Wellness Center, Presbyterian Church and the Salvation Army. Wild Iris provides safe housing for survivors of domestic violence.

According to Kabala, “the demand for shelter exceeds the resources.”

IMACA Director Charles Broten explained the organization’s focus is on families with programs for homeless prevention, rapid-rehousing and placement in affordable housing. “We can’t help if the person has no income,” he said, adding that next year there may be more funding for emergency shelters.

Roughly half of those who have sought help from IMACA have underlying problems—mental health issues, chronic health problems or substance abuse. The County’s Health and Human Services department provides services in those areas.

Members of the public, some who are or were homeless, stepped forward, pointing out that homeless campers in the valley were being rousted and the lack of housing for those trying to work their way out of homelessness.

Downey made a plea for help. “I’ve had hardships,” he said, “but I’m not a beggar.”
“There are gaps” in services, said Mayor Laura Smith. “But I believe the gaps will be filled.”

How to fill them is the question.

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Jason
Jason
5 years ago

It is sad, but Bishop and the Owens Valley do not have the resources to house a homeless population. It might be best to give one way bus tickets south, to a more temperate climate and areas that can support such needs. Our tax dollars are already stretched thin trying… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
5 years ago
Reply to  Jason

Jason, sending people down south is totally passing the buck. Most of our homeless are from here. A lot of them are still kids in my eyes. This country needs Universal health care , not free bus passes.

Low Inyo
Low Inyo
5 years ago

Robert C……When I first arrived in the Owens Valley in 2000,I guess you would have judged and classified me as a “bum and homeless”..no money,no place to live…no food…and should have “migrated south”…instead of doing as you say,I got employment while living in a tent (for 5 months) ,saved up… Read more »

Robert C
Robert C
5 years ago

Our town has lots of Bums & Homeless per capita, as compared to all other cities and towns, seems like the Bums would migrate south like the geese and the sun birds do when they migrate to Niland, CA

Trouble
Trouble
5 years ago
Reply to  Robert C

Wow Robert, we all have problems and issues. I don’t usually agree with Lower, but I do this time. I have found that most homeless people are afraid to ask for help or a real job.

Low Inyo
Low Inyo
5 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

…thank you,Trouble….myself,I was getting away from my problems and issues back in 2000….and no better “rehab” than a 1,000 trip with $120.00 in my pocket,truck problems in Bridgeport (in early March) that kept me there in the back of the truck for over a week in freezing cold weather,and then… Read more »