By Seth Bonilla
Port Hueneme, a place my wife and I called home 5 years ago. Prior to us moving here we lived in Bakersfield California and served on a team providing meals to over 5000 per month and also provided resources for the homeless population to utilize.
Bakersfield is not only a mean town politically but also has the worst police department in the nation along with some of the worst air quality to boot.
Now that we are here in Port Hueneme and have seen some of the same effects when a local government refuses to put people above profits and also when community members do not prioritize the health of their own neighbors homeless or not.
We both have grown tired of the typical cliche that these bums want nothing more than a hand out and who refuse to pull themselves up on their own since they alone created this condition, which is the farthest statement from truth. People no longer consider the person, the childhood and many of the disadvantages they suffered early in life.
When did it become acceptable to disregard a human life that seems to be lowly because so many have prospered and look down on those with less, if this is you, shame be upon you for your lack of common decency. City leaders have an inherent responsibility to EVERYONE as well period. Finely tuned speeches will never justify the suffering of others from any walk of life no matter what position you hold.
In the 5 yrs that we have served this community the homeless concern grows, community members are now angry since city leaders have allowed the homeless behaviors to take over our beaches, our sidewalks and streets, our waterways, our store fronts and bushes, it is downright right shameful and inexcusable.
Port Hueneme has collected and continues to collect massive amounts of revenue from marijuana despencerie and only uses a small portion to buy beds that are delivered to outlying cities such as Oxnard. To our knowledge Hueneme has no viable or sustainable services to address this concern, why? Why does this city pass our homeless problems to outlying communities? Where is Hueneme accountability in this ” Friendly city by the sea” what on earth does this reflect?
Failure in leadership, failures in community participation is to blame for this, it is simply a human failure whether you account for it or not. Look at the virus crisis now. Why shelter them now when they could have been sheltered long ago? And when this virus subsides won’t it go back to what it was before.
The homeless have been deprived of the most basic of services here in Hueneme. I have personally tried to get the city to mobilize portable showers, toilets, basic medical attention with an ombudsman mobil trailer to fan out throughout the city as a pilot program with many vital services, but these idea’s require community support to initiate instead of city leadership stepping up to say let’s get this done.
Forty years of talk and we can’t even mirror what other states and communities have implemented and have had and continue to have great successes. Christian men and women occupy many areas of this community but yet have failed also on the most basic of principles in life and that is to help and love your neighbors. You dont get to choose what Godly principles you want to exercise and when. As men and women of faith we are to be beacons for the lowly and hopeless.
These people are drug addicted, are alcohol saturated, and their minds sick because they have no one to help them. They suffer from isolation and reasonable human contact since many prefer them in the shadows of life where they can’t be seen. They cannot break addictions without help. They cannot get jobs while filthy. And cannot thrive without assistance, assistance that a human decency should provide
The bible says remove the log from your own eye before trying to remove the speck from your brothers and sisters. It is high time to hold city leaders to account, to hold one another to account and to remove the blinders so the prism in which we all look through is the same and clear. We may not ever be able to fully eliminate homelessness, but one thing is certain and that is if all of us continue to allow this to happen without mindful ordinances that requires the homeless to be sheltered, to accept help, this will not end.
We have spoken personally to many that we serve each month and although there are those who are assistant resistant, there are equally as many who are desperate for help. Those in positions of leadership will one day be held to a higher account as will we. My life and the life of my wife is no more important than the most lowly, so it is better for some to not think of themselves more highly than they should because the measure which we use will be measured back to us.
When this virus crisis is over I implore Hueneme residents to rise up in full force and demand from the city as well as ourselves to say enough is enough because as surely as one concern passes another is waiting to rear it’s ugly head and if we can come together and work diligently together we can once again call this the friendly city by the sea.
Seth Bonilla was born out of country (Central America) and raised in Bakersfield Ca most of my life. Worked in executive protection for several years, married in my mid 20’s with 2 sons and have since been married for 30 years. I am a veteran military police officer and now operate a small fencing business- for the last 20 years. My wife and I have always been servants of our communities and been doing so for 17 years in the food distribution area and supplying the homeless with resources, hope, and love.