Why Here, Why Now?
With 47% of the city residents on welfare, food stamps, Medi-Cal, or a combination thereof; 38% living at or below the poverty level; and over 50% of the population is living at 200% of the federal poverty level, San Bernardino is the second poorest city in the nation just behind Detroit.
While the City of San Bernardino accounts for only 10% of the county’s population it has 40% of its homeless population and approximately 70% are males. The San Bernardino County 2013 Homeless Count and Subpopulation Survey found 2,321 homeless individuals throughout the county. Approximately 45% of the homeless population had been homeless for a year or more, 34% abused alcohol and/or drugs and 26% experienced mental illness.
Most individuals experiencing homelessness reported a job loss, unemployment or alcohol/drug use as the primary event or condition that led to their homelessness. Without structured, formal, comprehensive support, many of these individuals will remain living on the streets and resort to criminal activities resulting in increased costs to the taxpayers and a decrease in community safety.
“We have made at least the start in discovering the meaning in human life when we plant shade trees under which we will never sit.” -Elton Trueblood
There are comprehensive programs for homeless women and homeless women with children however there are no comprehensive housing programs for homeless men in the Central San Bernardino Region.
Mary’s Mercy Center has been serving homeless individuals and individuals at-risk of becoming homeless with dignity and respect since 1987. Over the years, thousands of individuals have received hot meals, clothing, supportive services, showers, food, medical and dental services through Mary’s Mercy Center. Since 1995, Mary’s Mercy Center has been providing women and women with children comprehensive, transitional housing services. This program has grown and now serves well over 100 individuals annually.
In 2012, with an understanding of the lack of resources for homeless men, Mary’s Mercy Center made a commitment to provide the same high quality, evidence-based programming for men that they do for women. Mary’s Village will provide comprehensive services including behavioral health, medical and other supportive services, at one location. Mary’s Mercy Center is looking forward to working with the community to improve the lives of homeless individuals, thus changing the entire community.”
The $12 million project will offer comprehensive services aimed at giving homeless men the support they need to reconstruct their lives thanks to a $7.368 million grant from San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and additional support from Southern California Edison and other donors.
The groundbreaking ceremony brought supporters from the Catholic church, San Manuel, Edison, San Bernardino County, the city of San Bernardino and other local agencies.