Residents To Help Run Love-A-Child Center In Wake Of Complaints

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Thu, 13 May 1999 04:57:13 -0700 (PDT)


***********************************************************
HOMELESS PEOPLE'S VIEWS, News, Alerts, Actions & Research
5,000+ ONLINE posts by or via homeless & ex-homeless people
HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn
***********************************************************

"For 13 years, Love-A-Child, an obscure compound for homeless women
overcoming alcohol and drug addiction, has operated without county
permits. The Bible-based group has taken 80 percent of clients'
welfare checks and 49 percent of their food stamps in exchange for
room and board. A parent with two children receives a welfare check
of $425 a month and $68 per person in food stamps." -- from article below

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/1999/05/06/MN8799
0.DTL&type=printable
FWD  San Francisco Chronicle - Thursday, May 6, 1999

     COMMUNITY PANEL TO HELP RUN LOVE-A-CHILD CENTER

     Christopher Heredia, Chronicle Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO:  A committee of community leaders was being assembled
yesterday to oversee the Love-A-Child homeless shelter in Bay Point,
which has been under pressure to improve conditions for the women and
children who live there.

The committee, which was recommended by the Bay Point Municipal
Advisory Council late Tuesday as a condition for the shelter's permit
to operate, will include 11 members from religious groups, local
elected officials, county staff and Bay Point residents.

Under the guidance of Supervisor Joe Canciamilla's office, the
committee has 90 days to come up with ``verifiable requirements to be
adhered to by Love-A-Child.''

``I think he has to listen to the board. If he doesn't have the
ability to follow through then someone has to be delegated that
responsibility,'' said Malcolm Lee, executive director of the Bay
Area Rescue Mission in Richmond who has agreed to serve on the
committee. He is also a friend of Love-A-Child's executive director,
Jerome Knott.

For 13 years, Love-A-Child, an obscure compound for homeless women
overcoming alcohol and drug addiction, has operated without county
permits. The Bible-based group has taken 80 percent of clients'
welfare checks and 49 percent of their food stamps in exchange for
room and board. A parent with two children receives a welfare check
of $425 a month and $68 per person in food stamps.

County officials who have received numerous complaints over the
years about trash and vagrancy at the Willow Pass Road site said they
have been reluctant to shut it because of the lack of homeless
shelters in eastern Contra Costa County. The shelter has room for 70
women and children.

Knott, who stormed out of the Tuesday meeting, agreed during a
late-night phone call with Bay Point leaders to work with the
committee and keep the shelter open.

At Tuesday's meeting, representatives from the Valley Vineyard
church in Danville, which has in the past given money to
Love-A-Child, offered further financial and administrative support
for the organization saying it's a valuable part of the community.

Love-A-Child board member Rudy Jaime said the organization will
follow the guidelines prescribed by the county, including limiting
the number of women and children to 48.

``Our primary goal for now is to comply and get things legal, get
everything in order,'' Jaime said.

As requested by the council, the group's board will also meet in
two weeks to discuss whether Knott should be replaced as executive
director of Love-A-Child.

Knott, who did not return phone calls yesterday, started the
program and opened the shelter in 1986 on land his father owns.

Love-A-Child has not been scrutinized before because there are no
requirements for organizations that do not receive county funding,
county officials said. Groups like the shelter only have to meet
county or city zoning requirements.

Brenda Blasingame, Contra Costa County homeless program
coordinator, said the county is trying to create voluntary standards
for groups like Love-A-Child.

``The faith community wants to address the homelessness issue and
that's important,'' she said. ``We can't do it on our own.''

But, Blasingame added, ``These places have to meet minimum
standards and codes and be a safe place and offer a program that is
working toward building people up.''

Bay Point Municipal Advisory Council Chairwoman Carol Grandbois
said the county is partly to blame for allowing conditions at
Love-A-Child to deteriorate.

Grandbois said she would like to see the shelter establish time
limits for client stays, better accounting practices and drug testing
on clients.

``Love-A-Child looks at the important thing of putting a roof over
these women's heads and food in their stomachs, but they've got to
move above the survival level to independence,'' she said. ``He's
working with his heart, not his mind. You have to follow the rules.''

END FORWARD

**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is
distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior
interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**



HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn>
4,000+ POSTS by or via homeless & ex-homeless people
Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy