Good News Rescue Mission’s Capacity Revealed!

Illustration by Phil Fountain.

Sometime this month, if it hasn’t happened already, Redding police may begin citing homeless people camping on public property in the city.

Then again, they may not. Last September, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that anti-camping ordinances such as Redding’s constitute cruel and unusual punishment if there is no shelter available for homeless campers, and therefore violate the 8th Amendment.

Although the city of Redding has revised its anti-camping ordinance in light of that decision, the fact remains that there is nowhere near enough available shelter for Shasta County’s estimated 750 un-housed individuals, about half of whom can be found camping within city limits at any given point in time. This number is considered a gross underestimate by most local homeless advocates.

In order to create the illusion that there’s enough room in Shasta County’s only homeless shelter, the Good News Rescue Mission near downtown Redding, city officials claim the Mission has never reported exceeding its capacity.

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As I’ve previously written, that’s the exact same argument the city of Boise unsuccessfully made to the Ninth Circuit Court. The court found that the Boise Rescue Mission’s unsubstantiated claim that it never exceeded capacity was dubious.

Furthermore, the court found the mission’s claim was simply company policy set by the Association of Gospel Missions, the umbrella organization that operates dozens of faith-based homeless shelters across the country, including the Boise Rescue Mission and the Good News Rescue Mission in Redding.

The basic idea is there’s always room at the mission—even when there isn’t.

You’d think city officials, when crafting a controversial, potentially unconstitutional ordinance, might have actually examined what the actual capacity of the Good News Rescue Mission is. Yet apparently they didn’t.

Seeking to discover what the Mission’s actual capacity is, I contacted executive director Jonathan Anderson several times. As a precondition to answering any of my questions, Anderson offered me a guided tour of the Mission, which I refused. He has so far not answered my questions, including a detailed email I sent him for this story.

Yet a week after my second story on the Mission, Anderson had no such reservations answering Record Searchlight business reporter David Benda’s questions about the shelter’s capacity.

“What Anderson does know is the Good News Rescue Mission houses 200 to 250 people on any given night,” Benda reported. “The shelter’s capacity is just under 500.”

Benda did the math, which was quite favorable to the city’s plan to enforce the revised ordinance.

“The math says the mission has room for about 250 more people a day, and Anderson estimates there are about 350 individuals who sleep outdoors in Redding each night.”

The only problem with Anderson’s claim is it isn’t accurate.

Homeless camper during the 2013 cold snap, when the Mission reportedly was at full capacity. Photo by Chris Solberg

Mission Capacity: It’s Complicated

According to newly-elected city councilman Michael Dacquisto, Anderson made the same claim, that the Mission has a capacity of 500, when Dacquisto toured the shelter during last year’s campaign.

“As I recall the numbers I gave during the campaign were estimates based on my recollection of numbers provided to me by Jonathan Anderson during a visit to the mission I made during the campaign,” Dacquisto told me in an email. “I was not provided any other numbers at any time or as part of consideration for the recently passed ordinance.”

One may presume his colleagues on the city council were also not provided any numbers on the Mission’s capacity during consideration of the revised ordinance, which was passed unanimously last month.

Seeking the answers I couldn’t get from Anderson—who, as the Mission’s executive director, earns $74,000 annually according to the website Charity Navigator—I contacted the Redding Department of Development and was connected to chief building official Jim Wright.

Determining the Mission’s capacity is “complicated,” Wright explained to my assistant (full disclosure: my assistant is my girlfriend, I was out when he called and provided the numbers below) because it has three buildings which house at least four major programs.

According to Wright, there are two numbers for each of these three buildings. The first figure is the building’s normal capacity and the second is its additional “overflow capacity,” the amount it’s allowed to exceed normal limits when an emergency situation is declared.

“The Mission is operating on a use permit that specifies the allowable number of ‘overflow’ occupants that are safely allowed based on the layout of the buildings and exits, etc.,” Wright explained in an email to me. “They are not suppose to exceed those numbers specified.”

Wright said the Good News Rescue Mission’s main building, which houses men only, has a capacity of 111 and no overflow capacity. Stays here are limited to 30 days, after which the individual must wait 30 days, more often than not on the streets of Redding, before becoming eligible for shelter again.

The Bridge building, also for men only, normally houses 40 male substance abusers in the Mission’s 18-month-long faith-based drug and alcohol recovery program. But fold up the cafeteria chairs and tables and throw mattresses on the floor, and it can house 106 more individuals.

On the homeless women and children side of the equation, the House of Hope offers 80 beds at normal capacity, with an overflow capacity for 20 more individuals. Like the men’s entry-level shelter, the 30-day-in, 30-day-out policy applies here.

Victory House, the Mission’s faith based substance abuse recovery program for women, has a normal capacity of 25 and an additional overflow capacity of 38. It’s worth noting that Anderson predicted both facilities would quickly fill to capacity when they opened in 2017.

What these numbers show is that under normal conditions, when no emergency has been officially declared, the Good News Rescue Mission’s capacity is 256—half of what Anderson told the Record Searchlight. Indeed, Anderson claimed the Mission houses 200 to 250 people per day, which means the Mission is at or near its normal capacity year-round.

Wright estimated that the Good News Rescue Mission’s total capacity including overflow is 400. I did the math, and got a total of 420. It may be possible that Anderson & Co. can pack another 80 individuals into its buildings like sardines to reach the 500 figure, but according to Wright’s numbers, they’d be exceeding their limited overflow capacity.

At any rate, Anderson is citing the higher overflow capacity number not because any emergency has been declared, but to bolster the claim the Mission has never exceeded its capacity, enabling the RPD to ticket homeless campers.

Good News Rescue Mission executive director Jonathan Anderson being interviewed by a Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce representative. Screen-grab from YouTube.

Size Doesn’t Matter?

Seeking further enlightenment on Redding’s revised homeless camping ordinance, I contacted city attorney Barry DeWalt by email, asking if he agreed that the Good News Rescue Mission has a capacity of 500 and has never exceeded its capacity, as Anderson claims.

DeWalt, who crafted the revised ordinance, agreed that the Mission has never exceeded its capacity, but did not know what its actual capacity numbers were. In fact, for the purpose of crafting the ordinance, he said the numbers were irrelevant.

“The capacity of the GNRM [Good News Rescue Mission] did not factor into how I drafted the amendment to the unlawful camping ordinance,” DeWalt said. “First, the ordinance addresses the availability of shelter in a broad sense without reference to the GNRM. At present the GNRM is the only available public shelter, but the ordinance can’t be drafted so its only application is to the GNRM. It has to account for the possibility that other shelter may be operated in the future.”

Fair enough. Someday, a long-sought-after low barrier homeless shelter may actually be constructed in Shasta County, and the revised ordinance has to account for that possibility, however remote it may seem. DeWalt continued:

“Perhaps more importantly, the ordinance has to address its own application in situations where there is available shelter and when there is not. The point of the amendment to the ordinance is to establish that the capacity of the shelter is not the sole factor when one looks at whether shelter is considered available.”

Here, DeWalt is referring to the Ninth Circuit’s decision, which found Boise Rescue Mission’s claims that it never exceeds capacity and that its entry level services are entirely secular incredulous. He then lays out the conditions under which an individual may or may not be cited for homeless camping with the revised ordinance.

“Shelter is not available to the individual when the public or private shelters in town do not have capacity, the individual has exhausted a stay limitation established at all available shelters, or there exists a condition at the available shelters where religious observance is required as a condition to shelter. If any of these situations occur, shelter is not available to the individual and there is no violation of this ordinance.

“If none of these three conditions [is] present, the ordinance is applicable and the individual may be cited for a violation of the ordinance.”

While he said the Mission’s capacity wasn’t a factor in revising the ordinance, DeWalt admitted it will play a role in how the revised law is enforced.

“As for whether the capacity of the GNRM justifies ticketing of those who are camping on public property, the answer is that it does but only in part,” he said. “If the GNRM has capacity, but the individual cannot return to the GNRM because he has exhausted his stay limitation, then for that individual shelter is not available.

“If the GNRM has capacity, but it changes its current policy so that religious observance is required as a condition of receiving shelter, then shelter is unavailable to that individual. In both cases, no violation would present.”

Screen-grab from the Good News Rescue Mission shows religious element up-front and personal.

Mission Loses Its Religion

Like the Boise Rescue Mission unsuccessfully argued in the Ninth Circuit decision, the Good News Rescue Mission asserts its entry-level shelter services are secular. They include the men’s main shelter and overflow and the House of Hope for women and children and its overflow.

Anderson continues to claim his shelter’s capacity is 500, with an excess of 250 beds available, but the ever-evolving Good News Rescue Mission’s official website tells a different story:

“Our Men’s Shelter and overflow sleep 202 individuals. House of Hope women and children’s shelter can sleep 105.”

That’s a total capacity of 307 men, women and children, all of whom are subject to the 30-day-in, 30-day-out rule—which exists to keep the shelter from becoming overcrowded—as well as rules governing behavior and substance abuse.

The Mission’s website doesn’t state how many people are currently staying in these shelters, but if they’re at or near full capacity, up to 106 men are sleeping on the cafeteria floor, in a cramped building with 40 substance abusers in various states of recovery.

When RPD begins enforcing the revised unlawful camping ordinance, they’ll be asking homeless campers why they aren’t at the Mission. As DeWalt noted, there are a number of legitimate reasons for not staying there. The camper may be on his or her 30-day-out or banned. They may be banned from the Mission for bad behavior.

He or she may also object going to the Mission on religious grounds. While Anderson and DeWalt might disagree, the Ninth Circuit Court didn’t buy the Boise Rescue Mission’s claim that its entry-level services were entirely secular. The Good News Rescue Mission’s claim is equally dubious.

While religious observance isn’t required, Christianity is omnipresent at the Mission, which prides itself as a religious nonprofit organization that accepts private donations only, no government funding. Evening chapel services are conducted before dinner is served. Most of its long-term residents are in faith-based recovery programs.

You can fool all of the people some of the time, but this isn’t one of those occasions.

For one, Redding city council member and Mayor Julie Winter, a Bethel elder, isn’t buying the story that the Mission has lost its religion. On Oct. 18 last year, responding to a question about the topic on the Redding City Club Facebook page (a club she founded) she makes no bones about the Good News Rescue Mission’s religious status:

“My immediate response to this question is two-fold. We need to pressure the County to open a low barrier shelter (a County committee is looking at getting State funding for this). There are people who can not or will not go to the GNRM. The courts have ruled that we can not cite people for illegal camping if there is not a secular shelter that has a bed for them.”

Nevertheless, Winter approved the revised homeless camping ordinance last month, after which she again put the onus on the Shasta County Board of Supervisors, who, rest assured, will get right on creating that new low barrier shelter.

If you believe that, I have some space I’d like to sell you in the Good News Rescue Mission.

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R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas. He can be emailed at RVScheide@anewscafe.com.
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45 Responses

  1. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    I have commented on the Phoenix Rescue Mission, in the same geographic area as Redding run by the same AGRM as Redding. The PRM is working with the city of Glendale on Glendale Works where they employ the homeless to clean up public facilities.
    RV, it would appear to me that this is a Redding Mission problem and not a National mission problem. Have you contacted the parent group, AGRM, about the differences in which the Redding Rescue Mission and the Phoenix Rescue Mission are run and why?

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Bruce, I have not contacted AGRM yet, but they also operate the Boise Rescue Mission, which is actually two missions, one for men and one for women. The Ninth Circuit found that it’s AGRM’s policy to say their missions are never at full capacity, because they’ll take anybody in. That’s the same issue with the Good News Rescue Mission. I would imagine Phoenix Rescue Mission has the same policy. Can you find out?

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        RV, I sent PRM an email asking about capacity, maybe I’ll get a response. According to AGRM list Arizona has ten AGRM affiliated missions in Arizona. Countless Phoenix churches have shelters, sanctuaries, not affiliated with AGRM. AZ Family news has been posting how ICE is dropping immigrant families off at the bus depot because the church shelters are full and the main immigrant detention center, Southwest Key, is virtually closed due to protests. If, as has been implied on here, there is free government money to house the homeless I would think PRM would be housing more homeless if they had the room. Obviously Glendale is not arresting the homeless when they are working with PRM to employ them.
        Redding is making the policy to arrest the homeless because they won’t go to the shelter, not the RRM. Is there, again implied on here, a collusion between RRM and Redding to ban all other homeless shelters to keep all free money flowing to RRM?

        • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

          Bruce,

          It’s less that the homeless don’t “want” to go to the Mission than that there simply isn’t room for the vast majority of them (as R.V.’s article indisputably proved). Also, there are obvious reasons why both the Mission and City officials promote the fallacy that there is room for everyone at the Mission. I addressed one of those topics in a comment further down the page.

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          Arrgggh! All these acronyms. I refuse to call Good News Rescue Mission GNRM. It took me long enough to stop confusing it with the Goodwill thrift store.

          Curious to know more about Phoenix’s homeless population. With a population of 4 million, it’s not surprising you have way more shelters than little ole Redding. But I wonder if there is enough shelter, i.e. is Phoenix similar to say, California’s coastal cities, SF, LA and San Diego, all of which have off-the-hook homeless problems. Maybe lower rent in Phoenix makes it less?

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            RV, I sent a LTTE in January that would answer some questions you are asking about Phoenix homeless. I resubmitted it again just now.

  2. Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

    This phenomenal article (with its impressive amount of research) is a perfect example of what investigative journalism should be.

    I’m incredulous over the claim by the City Attorney that the City’s anti-homeless ordinance can be enforced now based on the mere possibility that there may be more adequate alternatives to the street at some future date.

    In addition, the only way homeless people can stay at the Mission beyond 30 days is to immediately jump into one of the Mission’s “programs” within a week of their initial 30-day period, which all appear to be “faith-based”, per the Mission’s website. In the likely event that they arrive at the Mission broke and unemployed, 30 days is obviously not enough time to find employement, save the couple thousand dollars needed to access permanent housing, and actually find housing in a nearly non-existent rental market. Consequently it would seem that there is no way to escape religion if one is to receive any real help from Shasta County’s only homeless shelter, in violation of the 9th Circuit Court decision.

    And as Mission Director Jonathan Anderson has publicly admitted, the Mission can’t accommodate people with many types of disabilities, or elderly infirm people in poor health. These groups represent a not-inconsiderable percentage of the local homeless population.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Thanks Patrecia. As you note, the issue of how many homeless people can be sheltered at the Good News Rescue Mission gets even more complicated when you look closely at the health and wellness of the homeless people who need shelter. I remain bewildered at Anderson’s lack of response to my queries.

      • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

        There probably isn’t much he can say, since his public claim that the Mission has a normal capacity of 500 has been very effectively disproven by the extensive documentation in your article above. It appears that the Mission is already operating at or above its maximum capacity, which allows only half that number. And as you pointed out, even a “State of Emergency” declaration by state government would only allow 400-420 people.

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          Well, I hope he doesn’t think I’m the anti-Christ! I’m constantly having to tell people I’m not.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            You could actually view that as a compliment! Two of my father’s favorite expressions were “Consider the source” and “If you aren’t making enemies, you aren’t doing anything worth doing”.

  3. Avatar CODY says:

    very good reporting – thank you!

  4. Avatar Anita Brady says:

    Great reporting and great “side” comments, RV.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Oh, you should have seen all of the one-liners before my final edit. This story provided what writers call a “target-rich environment.”

  5. Avatar Ginny adorador says:

    Hi R.V.-
    Excellent article. I have come to expect that from you and am never disappointed.

    The only thing I would like to say is that there are 3 older, homeless women living across the street from the library as of last Friday. None of them walks well and 1 is in a motorized wheelchair that doesn’t work. I know all three, Beverly, Trina and Anne. They have told me they are all “banned” from the Mission for various, minor offenses. (Old Advil in the bottom of a purse, yelling at a loud child, alcohol on breath) I understand there are two sides to every tale but find myself believing more and more that when it comes to housing and the homeless there is simply one side, people need homes. Not shelters, not 30-day policies, and not requirements to fulfill beforehand, just homes. As for the GNRM, I’m not sure how they square the kind of treatment they are dishing up over there with their God but I find myself overwhelmingly appalled by their version of faith and charity.

    • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

      Ginny,

      What a beautiful post (and so true). What’s needed is actual housing – however minimal – where people can have the safe space the rest of us take for granted, without having to spend their days and nights constantly contending with the problems of hundreds of strangers in an over-crowded, dormitory-style setting like the Mission. It’s also no small thing to be free of the Mission’s hellfire-and-brimstone, punish-the-sinner approach, which is far less effective than the dignity and safety of actual housing in helping people turn their lives around.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Ginny, I feel for the women forced to live on the mean streets of Redding. The abuse comes from every direction. It’s heartbreaking.

  6. Avatar Judith Salter says:

    I fail to see any benefit in givingCitations to the homeless. What are they going to do with them? This is just another move to criminalize homelessness.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      Citation or no, the ordinance allows police to forcibly remove trespassing campers from city property.

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        Thanks for chiming in Tim. If you re-read Mr. DeWalt’s comments, you’ll understand that there are conditions on when RPD can cite unlawful campers, and if you re-read the whole story, you’ll understand those conditions haven’t been met. Ever single ticket will be invalid–presuming the public defender has time to take homeless cases.

        BTW, what was the estimate you gave for the Mission’s capacity based off of satellite photos from Google maps? Was it 700? Based on what’s allowable in a dance hall?

        • Avatar Tim says:

          The conditions haven’t been met to your satisfaction, but they’ve more than been met to mine. As long as someone has not been turned away from the shelter and they do not object to a religious setting, they’re making the choice to be on the street in violation of code.

          And I estimated a 600-720 theoretical maximum capacity based on square footage depending on the size & number of fire exits at the main Mission & office, but only if properly configured (using triple bunks in a specific array). They use a lot more space for cooking, dining, worship, teaching, and administrative purposes than I would.

  7. Avatar Linda Cooper says:

    This guy can write. He includes the facts, knows how to spell, and weaves a comprehensive story all at the same time. The article makes me nostalgic for journalism in the good old days. More, please!

    Meanwhile, I’m trying to understand people’s motivation with not disclosing accurate bed capacity statistics at the Good News Mission. While I readily understand the City of Redding’s motivation, I’m not clear about the true intention on the part of Good News Mission. And I know it’s not fair to say that Mother Teresa never charged a dime.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Why thank you Linda Cooper. Allow me to speculate on why the Mission is participating in this charade. I think there’s a popular movement in this town comprised of right-wing, prosperity gospel evangelicals, led and financed by Bethel, who are attempting to beautify Redding by eradicating the homeless, which they consider a blight on their image. I believe Jonathan Anderson has fallen in with this crowd–evidenced by the humiliating display he endured at Bethel, where the hypnotized congregation dropped dollars into the hat he was holding in hand. But all of this is just speculation, in Shasta County’s best comment section.

  8. Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

    Having worked with the poor and homeless in Shasta County for many years, I can conjecture based on my extensive experience with the Mission (and I stress that this is only my personal opinion), but if more adequate homeless facilities were allowed into the area, the Mission would be forced to share scarce donation dollars with other – and possibly better – emergency homeless service providers. The Mission has had what amounts to a local monopoly on those services for the past 50 years.

    In an interview with the Mission’s current director, he basically stated that he would approve of allowing transitional housing into the area only if it served as an extention of the Mission’s religious drug program (he also strongly implied that anything else could be “bad for the community”), so there is definitely a sense of entitlement at play. He was also instrumental in local government’s rejection of a homeless day center – claiming (I believe) that the Mission already provides that service. In my opinion there is a very obvious effort being made by the Mission staff to maintain a monopoly on whatever local services are provided, by pretending that the Mission is able to meet far more of the need than it actually can.

    • Avatar Ginny adorador says:

      Patricia, I wholeheartedly agree!! I have said many times that the missions monopoly on donations is a big reason they are the only game in town. They have no desire to share the cash cow.

  9. Avatar Kathryn McDonald says:

    Excellent work as usual, RV. Shasta County is lucky to have you.

  10. Avatar Robert Scheide Sr. says:

    First my usual disclaimers, RV is my firstborn, and a hell of a writer if I have say so. Second I am currently a Mission monthly donator. Knew all along this was a religious operation but there is no other game in town to help the homeless, so I contribute.

    With the new laws and the Mission set to patrol the city with the van, they are getting to cruise the city for homeless, asking them to come to the Mission and if they refuse the cop who is in co-operation with the Mission ticket the individual, which of course will not be honored by the homeless. Goes on their record of course leading to no doubt eventual incarceration.

    Seems like every city is running the homeless out of their city to where exactly? I’m 82 and I have seen and talked to some of the homeless who at least looked as old as me. One old woman comes to mind her belonging were neatly packed on a Costco style cart a lot of stuff.
    The city when ticketing this individual most likely would take her gear, then what the hell is she to do.

    The cities cruel take on the homeless problem is similar to other places but shouldn’t we be just a little better than them. What is the cost of all this policing?

    Seems to me if you count what the city is spending running these folks out could be spent giving them a safe place to camp. Provide them with Blue rooms, water and shower, trash pickup and perhaps using some folks in the local lockup to help police the grounds. Try it, you might like it.

    Meantime I am reconsidering my donation to the mission, religion is one thing, cops are another.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Thanks Dad. Creating a space for homeless campers is so easy, you can count on the city and the county never doing it. They do everything the hard way.

      I don’t advocate boycotting the Mission. As you point out, they’re the only game in town. I honestly think they do good work. It’s this coordination with the city of Redding to enable of all things a law that has been declared unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment, continues to boggle my mind.

  11. Avatar Candace C says:

    R.V. Thank you for this factual and layered reporting. I agree with Judith regarding the issuing citations; what a non-sensical, absurd notion. On another note I always love Phil’s illustrations. They remind me a bit of both R. Crumb and MAD Magazine.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Thank you Candace, especially for pointing out Phil Fountain’s excellent illustration at the head of this story! It blew my mind when Doni showed it to me, he totally nailed it! LOL a three hour tour is what started this 3-part series on the Good News Rescue Mission.

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      “I agree with Judith regarding the issuing citations; what a non-sensical, absurd notion.” Kinda like a southern border wall.

  12. Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

    One of the problems with giving homeless people tickets they can’t afford to pay is that it actually contributes to and prolongs homelessness. They are then saddled with a criminal record, which makes it that much harder to secure jobs and housing in the future.

  13. Avatar Karen Hafenstein says:

    I see a veritable plethora of huge empty buildings in Redding with another one soon. What about a two-column Excel spreadsheet: “what we are spending on the homeless now” and “what would it cost to turn a big empty building into a multipurpose facility for the homeless?”

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      But Karen, that would be logical. And as R.V. stated “Creating a space for homeless campers is so easy, you can count on the city and the county never doing it. They do everything the hard way.”

  14. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Superb article R.V. I really enjoy reading the knowledgeable and thoughtful posts to everything you write. Sometimes I think all the rules and regulations and building codes and requirements are meant for the well-off people our governing bodies wished lived in Redding instead of the actual population of low wage earners who keep this town going. The people who retire to Redding from the big cities are good for the economy, but they don’t represent the majority of the working population in Redding. Are there enough livable jobs in this town for all of the homeless? Are there jobs that will get people back into a home? It is scary to know how easy it is to become homeless.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Thanks Joanne. I can’t really get a handle on Redding’s real economy, and why it seems to leave so many working people near the bottom, and in danger of lapsing into homelessness. If not for extremely good fortune, I could be out on the streets, too. I find it grotesque that we celebrate the “bus ticket out of town” project, euphemistically called a bus ticket home.

      We’ve just had a freak snow storm in Shasta County including Redding. Bet the Mission is full tonight!

  15. Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

    Since the Mission can’t even begin to accommodate the hundreds of people who are homeless in Shasta County, the question is how many will die in this weather (and who we won’t hear about).

    Ten or twelve years ago a young woman died literally on the Mission’s doorstep during a string of frigid nights when temperatures dropped into the teens. Following that tragedy I tried to find out how many homeless people die on our streets, but I was informed by the County that this information was not available because County officials use an obscure state code (having nothing to do with the homeless) that allows them to “assign” an address to deceased homeless people, which they claimed made it “impossible” to tell who was homeless and who was not. The address with which they basically falsified official records could be a “former address” (where it’s likely someone else now lives), the address of the hospital, or even the Mission – whether those people were actually staying there or not.

  16. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    In a google search for Redding homeless programs one national website has a list of 3,000 “homeless” shelters. Many of these are subject to fees which the truly homeless cannot afford. Another google search states Redding Rescue Mission is the only homeless shelter north of Oroville. Clicking on that revels that it is a Redding Rescue Mission home page. I doubt that RRM is the only homeless shelter north of Oroville. False advertising?

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      I don’t know about north of Oroville (I’m pretty sure Chico has a shelter or two) but the Good News Rescue Mission is the only major homeless shelter in say a 100-mile radius.