Last night I drove south on G Street as I have done many times in the past. I've had the privilege of taking part in programs that minister to homeless men at the Fresno Rescue Mission located on G Street, just south of Ventura. It is the Rescue Mission that has most often drawn me to what is for most Fresno residents a VERY undesirable part of town - to say the least.
However, it wasn't the Fresno Rescue Mission that called me to drive to the dark, filthy, drug infested neighborhood that is G Street - it was my son. My oldest son is home from prison on parole. Well, he's not actually at home since the great California Parole System in their wisdom have decided my son shouldn't be around my daughter - who also lives at home. I won't even discuss the rationale behind their decision, as it is in fact irrational, but it is what it is. So, in order to deliver a few bags of groceries to my son I drove past the rescue mission, past too many to count shopping carts, and past the little village known as "tent city" - homes built out of camping tents, garbage bags, and building scraps. Finally I arrived at the small, roach infested motel that the State of California has demanded my son call home for now.
The room my son is living in was everything I expected it would be. There was a bed to the left and a worn, splintering cabinet on the right that cradled a barely working television set with a 15 inch screen. My son pulled back the covers on the bed to reveal holes in the bottom sheet that appeared to have been put there by repeated stabbings from a knife of some sort.
Where is the hope? A newly paroled young man who wants to turn his life around is put in the darkest part of town, surrounded by drug addicts, alcoholics, and the mentally deranged. He is forced to spend at least 14 hours a day in this place and is expected to find a job, stay out of trouble, and find reasons to believe in himself and to have hope.