The leader of the Fresno Mission – the local Christian non-profit organization that serves the region’s homeless and was formerly called the Fresno Rescue Mission – is posing an idea to Fresno and Madera Counties to tackle the homeless shelter problem.
Fresno Mission CEO Matthew Dildine penned an op-ed in GV Wire suggesting the counties come together to house the area’s homeless at the shuttered Madera Community Hospital.
The big picture: Dildine’s proposal seeks to find a solution to the recently bankrupt hospital and Fresno City Council member Miguel Arias’ recent proposal to turn the Fresno Convention Center into a homeless shelter that would house over 1,000 people.
- Under Dildine’s plan, the two counties would build a comprehensive campus to provide emergency housing, supportive services and long-term transitional housing to the area’s homeless population.
- The move would, theoretically, enable Fresno and Madera counties to enforce no camping bans on homeless residents by complying with the Ninth Circuit ruling in Martin v. Boise, requiring adequate bed space before forcing homeless from public places.
- Madera Community Hospital would be a good site, Dildine says, given the patient rooms, offices, kitchens and various other facilities that could be used.
What they’re saying: “Why would Madera even consider allowing such a project in their community, potentially bringing Fresno’s homeless within its borders? The answer: Madera has a very unique opportunity to do what no other California city has done. Madera has the opportunity to make a major investment before the homeless problem in their community expands beyond the point of return, sadly, like Fresno,” Dildine wrote. “But, Madera currently doesn’t have the financial resources to do it on their own. If, however, Fresno and Madera joined forces, it could be a win-win.”
- But Dildine’s plan, which was published Tuesday, is already facing pushback from one elected official in Madera County.
- “While I have deep respect for our neighbors in Fresno County, Madera County is not a dumping ground for more than 1,000 homeless,” Madera County Supervisor Jordan Wamhoff said. “In the meantime, I remain committed to finding a solution for the 160,000 residents of Madera County who are without a hometown hospital and have to travel many miles to seek proper healthcare treatment in emergencies.”