Church Chats

Safe Parking December 2016 through March 2017

There are over 6000 homeless people in this beautiful valley of ours. Some of them may be beyond our ability to help and all we can do is pray for them and treat them with as much dignity as possible. About 35% are long term homeless, with mental illness or drug abuse issues that require more skills than most of us possess. But that leaves about 4000 people on any given night who could have warm cozy beds to sleep in, but don’t. Many of them are the working poor, making some money but not enough to pay the high rental costs here. Some share tiny spaces in garages or on some piece of floor in a house shared by too many people. Some of these are children who go to our neighbor schools, but don’t do well in school because of the insecurity of their home situation. Some of these families are living in their cars because of recent medical bills, or a divorce, or fleeing domestic violence. Once a family loses their home, it is very difficult to get back into housing. There are requirements for first and last month’s rent and hefty security deposits. Our St. Vincent de Paul Society volunteers are frequently offering financial support for utility bills and such, trying to keep housed family in their homes. Please be as generous as you can be with your donations to St. Vincent de Paul because they do amazing work in our name. Consider setting up automatic payments to them with your bank.

Last March, St. John Vianney Parish ran a Safe Parking Program for families living in their cars. We learned a lot in that process and have decided to restart the program on December 1 running through March of next year. We will focus on families with at least one school age child, hoping to provide some security for these families. (People parking elsewhere overnight are frequently awakened by police, telling them to move on, which can be terrifying for a sleeping child, or worse yet, they are sometimes bothered by gangs picking on already stressed people. Our Safe Parking program can offer them the simple pleasure of a good night’s sleep.)

We are in need of volunteers to work at Check-In (7:00 PM to 9:00 PM) and Check-Out (6:00 AM to 7:00 AM) times. Can you help? One or two days each month can really make a difference to these neighbors. Please contact the parish office or to volunteer. Become the Face of Jesus for these neighbors in need.