Why Mary's Mercy Center
Although many non-profits work and partner with the city and county in which they reside, all working towards ending homelessness, the reality is that an end to homelessness may not be possible, and if it is, at the very least as our Lord said "The poor you will always have with you" (Matthew 26:10-12). They are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Regardless of why our brothers and sisters are poor or what their condition of life is, they have the inherent right to be able to have the necessities for human life that bring dignity and hope.
Here at Mary's Mercy Center we have a constant flow of poor and homeless people. The numbers fluctuate from time to time but slight decreases are not long lasting. In sharp contrast the needs of the poor and homeless have increased dramatically. Where providing food and clothing for individuals and families seemed to be enough, now the needs have broadened, i.e., there is need for gasoline money at the end of the month, the poor cannot always pay all of their rent or utilities, cannot afford school backpacks or supplies to put in them, there is not enough money to fill prescriptions, no money for car repairs, no money for new shoes to replace the severely worn ones. Preventative medicine for the poor and homeless is nonexistent, simple needs for infants are unaffordable, and the list goes on. There is a deepening need among our brothers and sisters. Whether it is seen or unseen, the terrible need is there and, sadly, growing.
It is estimated that 23.8% of the children in San Bernardino live in poverty (1). This statistic is based on the Federal Poverty Threshold which is not adjusted for an area's cost of living.
Nationally, California ranks 4th in size of homeless population. (2)
41% of the homeless population is comprised of families. Families are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. The number of homeless families might actually be higher as homeless families often double up with other families. The families that double up are not counted and often prevented from receiving assistance. (3)
The statics are startling, bigger and different than most would imagine!
*1 KidsData.org "Children in Poverty" (Regions of 250,000 Residents or More): 2009
*2 National Coalition for the Homeless (state statistics)
*3 National Coalition for the Homeless (Homeless Families with Children): July 2009