“Nothing in Fresno operates in a silo – it’s all connected in some way. What happens in the north, south, east, and west Fresno affects the whole city. Today we strolled the beautiful Fulton Street and just 4 blocks away we encountered hundreds of people living in desperate circumstances. Let’s take it all in so we can think holistically and creatively about solutions.”
Saturday morning, February 10, 2018 – a crisp blue sky morning, walkers gathered at the Cultural Arts District park to begin a 4-mile route in downtown. As walkers gathered, a yoga class was setting up in the park. (This was Walk 37, Yr 3.)
Welcome to walkers: Michelle, Kathy and Chris, Amy and Darin, Sheila, Carrol and Jim, Dina and Jess, Don and Kathleen, Joe and Vikki, Beth, Betty, Pat, Tammy, Kathryn, and Gayle. Walkers do not talk to each other while walking, but after the walk, we gather for a few minutes to share observations. Here are some:
As we walked, I saw the neighborhood waking up. More and more people were out by the time we returned on Fulton St.
I liked touching the walls – feeling different textures.
Liked all the architectural details – old buildings, iron gates, different textures not seen on modern buildings.
I got to touch a Renoir this morning. That doesn’t happen every day.
I like how clean everything is – beautiful along Fulton St.
Walkers chuckled at getting pea gravel stuck in our shoes.
So exciting to see restaurants opening up on Saturday mornings — with tables outside for dining.
I love the name of the dress shop: Every Woman is Unique – all are divine.
Amy said she appreciated moving slowly, at a walking pace – slow enough to see and enjoy the details.
Two walkers remembered buying wedding dress at Luxenburgs, which is now closed.
Walkers noticed the faded Gottschalks sign – indicator of times gone by.
Walkers wondered why a few of the fountains were blocked by fences that weren’t there last week.
Walkers marveled at the bakery celebrating 95 years in business.
Walkers stopped and inspected the bright and shiny new bus stop for Fresno’s BRT – bus rapid transit – with ticket booth and digital display of route and bus arrival time. At the bus stop across the street, a passenger waited on the bench.
Walkers stopped in front of the majestic Trinity Armenian church with signage from 1914. A black hearst was parked in front – walkers stood on the sidewalk — a way for us to honor and respect the family that would be arriving soon.
Next to the Armenian church at Ventura and L, walkers saw the Haron Jaguar dealership under construction. Haron aired an ad during the Super Bowl about the family dealership and that showcased Fresno with slogan: #Fresnoproud.
Within a few blocks of Fulton Street, walkers encountered hundreds of people living out in the open around Poverello House and Fresno Rescue Mission:
Walkers discussed the groups we saw wearing matching shirts helping in a variety of ways. A group with shirts that read “Live Generously” were serving meals from tables in a vacant lot. One volunteer told us that the group was started by a 1st grader, Lexi (who was there) from Burrough elementary. Lexi saw people living on the street and told her mom they should do something to help.
A few walkers ventured a bit further on G Street and met people from Cornerstone church who were providing meals and free haircuts – professional stylists were on site and had their customers caped and in chairs under a pop-up tent.
Kathryn shared that Fresno’s new ordinance requires that homeless people have to move their stuff off the street every day. City of Fresno workers (or police) show up each morning and require that they carry away their belongings. Whatever they can’t carry gets discarded.
There are apartments/duplexes next to Poverello house that are gated and well kept. Walkers told us that people have to apply to live there – and it’s drug and alcohol free.
In individual conversations, walkers discussed the dilemma of how to help people who are homeless. Providing meals in dirt lots on the corner shows human compassionate and satisfies hunger for a few hours, but that’s not sustainable or ideal. A continuum of response is needed that includes the whole range — short-term mitigations (feeding someone who’s hungry) but also finding permanent, long-term solutions to homelessness. An example of a permanent solution is just two miles away at The Salvation Army Silvercrest Residence program for low income and disabled seniors. This is a permanent housing solution for many people who need extra support. But this program is full with a waiting list – and other Fresno free or low-income housing options are at capacity with long waiting lists (just check the Fresno Housing Authority website). Many homeless people need additional support for mental illness, addiction, and serious medical conditions. While City of Fresno is trying to route homeless people into services, the nonprofits and government programs are reporting that they do not have any more room.
Walkers considered the idea that nothing in Fresno operates in a silo – it’s all connected in some way. What happens in the north, south, east, and west Fresno affects the whole city. Today walkers strolled the beautiful Fulton Street and just 4 blocks away are hundreds of people living in desperate circumstances – existing out in the open with no safe and clean place to call home. If we just ignore one part while celebrating the other – it’s not sustainable… To be informed, let’s take it all in and be inspired to think creatively about how each of us can be a changemaker.
To see photos from this walk, visit the FB photo album
Or the Google album at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/hulDfZBoQd4Vq2bg2This entry was posted in Uncategorized