Claremont Police Raising Awareness for Growing Homeless Population


courtesy of the Claremont Courier

Claremont Police Department employees, Nick Martinez Jr., Brooke Malinoski, and Garrett Earl outreach to Claremont’s homeless population giving out care packages and supplies.

Claremont residents and CHS students alike oftentimes think of homelessness as a problem for metropolitan cities such as LA and San Francisco. However, although it is less apparent in Claremont, homelessness is an issue for this city as well.

On Aug. 28, 2019, the Claremont Police Officers Association, along with Los Angeles Homeless Services, came together in Claremont and LA to provide care packages full of daily essentials such as socks, chapstick, and first aid kits to homeless people across the county. The volunteers also gave out information about the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), Homeless Veterans Hotline, and The Salvation Army. These organizations are lifelines for the homeless, providing shelter, aid, or just someone to talk to. LAHSA provides help and solutions for the homeless in LA County by providing advocacy, planning, and management of program funding.

According to Liset Marquez of the Daily Bulletin, Claremont has 29 homeless. The Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, conducted in January, has counted that 20 individuals are unsheltered and 9 were in makeshift tents located in Claremont.

In late 2017, the County of Los Angeles gave Claremont a planning grant investing $30,000 into the “Homeless Plan.” With a series of aspirational goals and supporting actions, this plan was designed to help reduce and combat homelessness in Claremont. The plan was presented to the Claremont City Council in May 2018 and was unanimously adopted by council members.

With no current public homeless shelter in Claremont, these individuals have relied on the kindness of Claremont residents, including members of Claremont churches, for help and safety.
“We were in a police commission meeting and a woman came in and asked for help because she had no place to go and was out of options and she was afraid to sleep in the park,” Caleb Mason, a members of the Claremont Police Commission, said.

Some of the organizations helping individuals like this include the Claremont Homeless Advocacy Program (CHAP). CHAP provides its participants with a place to sleep in a local church and mentors them on how to find work and secure sustainable housing. CHAP is run by the local Claremont Friends Meeting and located in their meeting house on Harrison, just down the street from El Roble.

“And what amazes me is that we’ve had it open to CHAP participants every single night for six and a half years,” Katrina Mason, a longtime member of the CHAP advisory council, said.

St. Ambrose Episcopal Church is another place the homeless can go. It provides free showers and permits people to stay on the property during daytime hours.

“Among the people at CHAP—I think high school students would be surprised to know—we had someone with a PhD in psychology and we had a really good artist and musician,” Mason said.

Homelessness in Claremont affects people from disabled veterans to working families with stacks of medical bills and ordinary folks just down on their luck. As Mason explains, the homeless are people that are just like everyone else and this problem is not going to go away until the rest of society sees that.

Some tips to help out our fellow homeless population may be: to contribute a small donation to homeless shelters, donate new/used items, create your own care packages, hire a homeless individual.