I was informed recently that our city is developing a solution for the homeless issue in Bakersfield. The proposed solution includes relocating these individuals to empty prison beds. There is no doubt that this is a solution to part of the problem of homelessness, but it is not the only solution. I believe, in fact, that it is the answer to the wrong question. It answers the unwelcomeness of the homeless in our midst but does nothing to address the needs of the homeless as our neighbors.
In March 2018, a group of faith leaders joined a Faith in the Valley delegation and gathered in Oakland to participate in the Belong Movement. The movement’s mission statement is “it is our commitment to awaken ourselves and those we love to build shared power, bridge across our difference, and create public spaces where everybody can BELONG!”