Glendora’s Homeless: Community Finds Ways to ‘Coexist’

Community groups and Glendora Police offer services to aid the local homeless population.

The recent discovery of a body of homeless man who died alone of natural causes at a Glendora bank turned the public’s attention to available community support services to the local homeless population.

While no permanent homeless shelters exist in the East San Gabriel Valley, community churches and Glendora law enforcement reach out to the local homeless with various support programs. However, with the homeless population growing throughout the San Gabriel Valley, some are pushing for more permanent shelter opportunities.

According to the 2011Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count Report, about 20 homeless people were found in Glendora.

The report also counted 3,918 homeless individuals in the San Gabriel Valley – up more than 600 since 2009.

Local churches and organizations have recognized the need to help the area’s homeless. Glenkirk and St. Dorothy’s Catholic Church take part with other neighboring churches in the annual Winter Shelter program, which provides food and overnight shelter for the homeless during the winter months.

This year’s Winter Shelter Program runs until March 15. For the rest of the year, until the next Winter Shelter program resumes, the homeless wander from one city to another,

Glendora, like most cities in the area, doesn’t allow homeless encampments. So many of the transients set up temporary encampments before moving on to another location.

Areas homeless often settle in places such as South Hills Park in Glendora and the flood control channels in Azusa.

Local homeless advocacy groups have tried to establish a permanent shelter in the East San Gabriel Valley, but the effort has been an unpopular one among local residents.

"What it really comes down to is that cities in this area don't really want a permanent shelter in their neighborhood," said Bob McKennon, director of the East San Gabriel Valley Coalition for the Homeless. "There's always the opposition – 'Not in my neighborhood.”

Still local organizations are doing what they can to assist the homeless community.

Glendora Police Chief Rob Castro said his department works closely with organizations such as the Shepherd’s Pantry to offer food and clothing for the homeless they encounter.  The Empty Bowls fundraiser through Citrus College has also allowed Glendora PD to provide food vouchers and other assistance for the local homeless population. Services are also available to help the homeless obtain new Social Security cards.

Castro said officers are also undergoing training to better deal with and communicate with homeless individuals, most of whom are suffering from substance abuse or mental illness. Castro said Glendora Police will often refer these people to nearby mental health or rehabilitation facilities.

Still, most of the homeless officers encounter are chronically homeless, living a lifestyle many of them have chosen.

A homeless man, who spends his days near the Ralphs parking lot, said he preferred staying in Glendora because “people are nice.”

The man, who couldn’t remember his age and spoke under anonymity because he feared “the Feds will find me,” said he would frequent a permanent shelter if one were available, but he said he wouldn’t stay there long.

“I have to keep on moving,” he said.

 “There are never enough resources to keep people off the streets,” said Castro. “We try to find ways to co-exist. There are two sides – one side want us to get the homeless out of the city, which we can’t do legally. Another side says we have to show compassion for these people, as long as they’re not violating the law.”

brenda page February 22, 2012 at 02:44 AM
i understand both side put i feel as that glendora pd could do better there people just like us but gpd treates us customer like were the bad person in this .i have a open case with gpd that happen at ralphs 2 years oak and no one has called me or come by to see if i have seen that guy again so what tell us all..
Todd N. February 22, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Although no shelter is provided, Shepherd's Pantry in Glendora on Arrow Hwy. is a wonderful resource for food as well as other services for homeless individuals and families. When will our society realize that we need to pay for facitities for the homeless? It's just not compassionate, nor is it practical, to force the homeless to live on the streets, especially when they suffer from mental illness. A big mistake was made when California eliminated mental institutions, but it's never too late to bring them back.
Jinky Torion February 22, 2012 at 05:30 PM
a classmate's step-aunt makes $88/hour on the computer. She has been without a job for 6 months but last month her pay was $16506 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site MakeCash9.[com]
Iain December 11, 2012 at 04:25 PM
I don't agree with Glendora Police being "helpful" to the homeless. I witnessed one officer yelling at a homeless man and he was told to "go to Azusa". It seems that the fake "caring" attitude of the Glendora officers only is for print and media, but in reality, all they do is chase the homeless population to another jurisdiction. As much as resources are stretched in our cities, there needs to be some better coordination of services to handle this problem across all cities in the area. Chasing the homeless population to another city just to keep your own backyard clean is shameful.
Todd N. December 11, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Although I don't support homeless abuse, what's shameful is when we enable the homeless due of a lack of consequences for their actions. Pan handling should be outlawed and I'm glad our police usher them along. When the homeless inhabit our parks and streets, thus displacing children and families, our community suffers. All one has to do is walk State St. in Santa Barbara to understand how bad things can get. Try settling down young girls who are frightened by aggressive pan handlers. I never want this to happen in Glendora. Why not find some gainful employment? Homelessness doesn't exclude one from working unless one simply chooses not to work, or there is mentally incapacity. If so I believe our tax dollars should house them in mental facilities that, regretfully, were dismantled by Ronald Reagan in the 70s when he was Governor of California. And that's coming from a conservative. And Jinky, this is not a job search website. Please peddle elsewhere. Thanks.


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