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January 18, 2009

Suburban homeless: From Livermore to Lafayette, some bad news, but also some good news

I’ll first deliver the bad news--then the good news to, I hope, end this post on a more positive note.

The bad news comes out of Livermore.

Police there found a badly decomposed body of a man in a field near a homeless encampment Friday afternoon, according to a report in the Pleasanton Weekly.

The field is near the intersection of Las Poitas Road and Arroyo Vista, east of downtown Livermore. Someone walking in the area made the grim discovery at about 1 p.m. and called police. The body had been there at least several days, and was so deteriorated that it was impossible to immediately determine cause of death or whether foul play was involved, police told the Weekly. Trying to identify him by distributing a photo of the deceased's face also won’t be possible An autopsy is pending.

Now the good news.


And it has to do with the Winter Nights Shelter, which provides temporary shelter to homeless families with children and ambulatory elders capable of self care. (Accommodations for the children are pictured at left.)


The shelter is currently located at St. Anselm’s Episcopal Church in Lafayette. The shelter operates from April through October, is located at rotating churches in the area, and is run by volunteers under the auspices of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County.

The good news about the shelter comes via my mother’s most recent newsletter from the League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley. League member Gwen Watson, who also serves as director for the Winter Nights Shelter, wrote to thank league members for helping to raise more than $1,000 for the shelter. League members raised the money through donations made at their holiday luncheon and through a cookie sale.

“Your donation is making a difference in the lives of our families,” Watson wrote.

Last winter, the shelter provided a warm, safe place to sleep for 71 family members, the majority of whom were children. It also provided dinner and breakfast to clients, transportation to school each day for the children, a daytime “oasis,” or service center, for parents to look for work, get access to social services and low-income housing, and take care of basic tasks like showering and washing clothes. A primary goal of the shelter is to help its clients, who are referred through social service agencies, work towards self-sufficiency.

As of Watson’s writing, she said that the shelter was housing 35 people: 15 adults, nine teenagers, two 6 ½-year-olds, and nine children under the age of five The shelter also provides a pre-school literary project for the younger children.

For more information about the Winter Nights Shelter or to make a donation, click here.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's sad news about the guy in livemore, and thanks for letting us know about Winter Nights. It sounds like a great program

Sarah said...

You should consider networking with the moms in the bizymoms Livermore community.