Monday, December 10, 2007

What The Lompoc Grinch Sent To The Dump

This is an estimated $4550 worth of new bunk beds, sitting sadly at the Lompoc dump.

Thirteen bunks and 26 new mattresses were donated to the Bridgehouse Homeless Shelter in Lompoc a day before Thanksgiving.

Godsend? For some reason, the shelter management decided against using them and sent the items to the landfill instead.

What were they thinking? They don't need the extra beds? Single cots are better than bunk beds?

In an effort to actually learn more about this, I read an editorial in the Lompoc Record. "If outsiders are given free rein to attempt to micromanage shelter operations, the community will have failed in its mission to help the less-fortunate among us." Oh really?

Apparently the bunk beds, similar to what's in use at other shelters on the Central Coast, were just not in their plan for the area's homeless. For church ladies to decide to make a donation and drop it off is characterized in the editorial as an "attempt to micromanage shelter operations."

Would a donation of a case of toilet paper be treated the same way?

What's the hubbub anyway? Ask Liann Noble, a county child welfare worker and one of the people who gathered the donated beds from PXP, a major oil company on the Central Coast. PXP uses these kinds of bunks for their crew in the offshore oil rigs.

Whether the shelter needs any new beds really wasn't why they refused the gesture.

Last year, Noble attempted to stay overnight to learn more, firsthand, about the actual homeless shelter conditions. She used a fake name and was recognized and later fired. Since then, she has won two appeals of her case and is waiting on a third appeal.

The full story is in this week's Independent. It's amazing how a personality clash, can interfere with an attempt to help single moms and their families have slightly more comfort and more privacy within the facility. For whatever reasons, these families are homeless.

If you want the Noble "was harrassing us" angle, here it is. It still appears to be a matter of "attitude" from where I sit in little old Lompoc.

Does improving things at the shelter make it more of a "country club"?

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