An important quote which stated long ago, “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” continues to resonate today, as much as it pertained when Cain asked God concerning his brother, Abel, in the Bible.

Well Hanford and King County government officials, what was God’s answer? Let us not put aside God’s intentions for each other, as He has for us, in our times of trouble. Take careful note, when your very own self or family member were relying on the compassion of God and good grace to get you out of your life challenges. How easy we forget the lack of the human condition, when it comes to others. Let us not be blind-sided by cynicism, cruel acts of indifference, scolding remarks of our homeless citizens of our city and county.

As human beings, we are all endowed by our Creator to have compassion for the weak, the poor, the hungry and yes the homeless. I have had interesting conversations with the homeless on the streets, and compared them to the perception of the general public and public servants in our city governments. There seems to be an unnecessary gap of great divide. Many of the homeless do not, and I repeat, do not come from drug abuse and crime. Believe it or not, many were at one time very productive contributors to our society, but for whatever reasons, an unfortunate event or series of events of life challenges brought them to where they are now, homeless and forgotten as social dregs of our society. Some were teachers, some had businesses, some were hard working fathers, mothers, and others abandoned children of dysfunctional families.

Many lacked the family and social support systems to get back on their feet. I, Alfred Benavides, have one time have come close to such a situation. I thank God for His good grace, mercy, plus a couple of good friends, such as Danny Todd, City Councilman Art Brieno and a brother in-law, and two sisters, kept my head above water to get back on my feet.

There are thousands of our good citizens living pay check to pay check, just one pay check from being homeless themselves!So, let’s get on with the current issue on hand. First and foremost are the complaints of what our homeless families are doing to our parks with respect to unsanitary activities. My question is this. If you were homeless, where would you go to shower, go to the bathroom, cook your food and put all your belongings and find shelter from the cold weather. Keep in mind that your very present comfortable situation can drastically change at a moment’s notice by a ugly divorce, bankruptcy, lawsuits, long or short term illnesses, poor financial decisions, all of which will and can drive you into being homeless and “not by choice”.

All of these factors will no doubt lead to serious mental health issues, social issues and financial issues. Let me be very clear, people suffering from mental health issues, such as clinical depression, disabling anxiety almost, without help, cannot help themselves. City councilpersons of Hanford and Kings County Board of Supervisors, lets resolve this by being compassionate and

rationale people of influence. Find and build, what is being proposed, that is, a One-Stop Homeless Center and Housing, as soon as possible.

Alfred Benavides, MPA

Hanford Resident

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