FACES: Homeless in Mission Viejo

Gertrude, a golden girl who prefers to be homeless in California said she does not find it hard on the streets, even after forgoing brain surgery and a broken leg. She claims to know better friends on the street. What bothers her most is when people call 911, reporting her location. She believes those who have it hard in life are the ones that do not accept the homeless.

“People afraid of the homeless are afraid of the things that are contained within there own four walls,”Gertrude said. “We homeless are humble as a bag-of-chips.”

she knows what it’s like to have money, but prefers to live without it and is still able to have a passion for gardening and recycling.

Doug grew up in the city of Orange, went to California State University Long Beach for college and worked for the city of Orange most of his life. A time that was socially-accepted for him until he got laid off during the recession, which led him to being homeless. He said the money he received from the state became a hinderance.

“When the county went broke, I lost my job,” said Doug, pointing out that Orange County was the third richest county in the US. “In cities where there is snow, the homeless get a place to live, but not here, and once you become homeless, it’s hard to get out of it.”

He believes businesses will pay money like a bribe to go along with the system, causing one not to work and then the actual problem gets overlooked. He remembers the year 1972, when Mission Viejo built housing tracks at a record-breaking-speed. Doug can be found in the library during the day and restaurants that stay open late at night.

“It’s a horrible cycle, churches will feed you, but can’t do much about housing,” he said. “I would like the Federal Government to takeover this issue, but the Feds are antagonistic to the situation.”

However in the city of Mission Viejo, It did not take long to find community members that have been reaching out to homeless on a weekly bases. The Presbyterian Church of the Master located on marguerite Parkway has a sign that invites all community members to Sunday dinner from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Paula Mc Nash who is the church secretary is the first person who is seen helping people on a daily bases rather than a weekly bases, because her desk is placed at the front door.

“When I first started, I would be crying and do my best to keep tears in until the person needing help would leave,” said Mc Nash, holding a stack of papers that represent each individual who is homeless. “We do our best to give boxes of food out, gift cards to grocery stores, prepaid gas cards and transit bus passes.”

The dinner is a way to outreach to people in need and seek help from volunteering local residents. Resources are given out to locate shelter and transitional housing. Church of Christ on Marguerite Parkway offers Thursday night meals in the same manner and for assistance during the day St. Kilian Catholic church on Estanciero is open from 8:30 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday. Seniors can go to the Norman P. Murray Center for breakfast the third Thursday of each month at 10 a.m.

Another resource is through a number known as the emergency number for the helpless. Instead of dialing 911, Those in need can dial 211. This is a resource number that has been set up all over the country to locate shelters, medical personal and food banks. Anything that has to do with a social problematic issue.