ONTARIO — The City of Ontario has no formal homeless shelter — this is a concern to many in the community and one that is an ongoing topic of discussion that continues to haunt city administrators.
Thursday night’s City Council work session covered myriad topics, but it was homelessness that brought about much of the discussion. What ensued was an insightful presentation by Barb Higinbotham from Community in Action. She said that because Ontario does not have a formal overnight shelter in place with washroom facilities, “that puts us in a high-need area.”
Following the presentation, James Vogt from Origins Faith Community spoke to express his feelings on the plight of the homeless community locally and to speak of what his church’s day shelter does.
The New Hope Day Shelter will be opening on Wednesday on Northwest Second Street in Ontario.
After Vogt spoke, local volunteer Chris Plummer took the opportunity to address the council about initiating the ‘safe lots’ program and the safety concerns surrounding homeless motorists in Ontario.
Mayor Hill stated that one of the issues he sees is that most of the homeless can be categorized into three categories: addicted, mentally ill and victims of circumstance and that “you can’t house them together.”
A concern voiced by Councilor Freddy Rodriguez is how the city has not utilized preventative measures as much as it could and that “a lot of money is spent on reactions.”
The council did not make any decisions on action regarding the informational presentation.