Letters to the Editor

Viewpoint: Faithful helping the homeless

By now, most of us know about the homelessness problem in our community, which has reached crisis proportions not only because of the increasing numbers of homeless citizens, but also because of the inadequate resources our community has to fully respond with shelter, sustenance and services.

You also likely know about several very promising efforts ongoing to address this crisis in each part of county. There are quite a lot of good people putting in a quite a lot of time to assist the most needy of our citizens in the present while at the same time planning for more robust measures for the future. This includes proposals for a one-stop services center in San Luis Obispo, a day center in South County and an expansion of the existing shelter and services in North County.

Unsurprisingly, among those involved in these various charitable efforts are leaders in our faith-based community. As we all know, compassion is a dominant and recurring theme in all scripture and theology. Our obligation to others is among the highest virtues and we see this preached and practiced in our houses of worship every week.

Building upon this strong moral sentiment, I am putting out a call to all the clergy in our community to contact my office. In the coming months, I would like to convene a meeting involving the clerical leaders of our many congregations to have a productive conversation on how we can best work together.

Certainly there remain ways to be explored for fulfilling our common purpose, to further our own common values, to, as a proverb prompts us, “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”

Less poetically put, I would like to see how we might better band together, collaborate and more effectively address homelessness in our county. Leaders in our faith-based community have the wisdom and experience that is crucial to our collective success.

As the safety net continues to unravel and as, in this uncertain time, some of us are encouraged to become more insular in our civic views, it is our religious leaders who can help stoke the moral energies that are vital to our community’s overall well-being.

So if you are among the clergy in our county, if you would be so kind as to contact my office either via e-mail or phone, I would greatly appreciate it.

If you go

The meeting to address homelessness in our county is scheduled for June 10 at 7 p.m. at the San Luis Obispo Veterans Memorial Building.

Adam Hill represents the 3rd District on the Board of Supervisors and chairs the county’s Homeless Services Oversight Council. Contact him at ahill@co.slo.ca.us or 781-4336.