Elk Grove Council Member Sophia Scherman Blasts Homeless Assistance Program

Says pilot program will encourage homelessness; Will churches want shelters next? Elk Grove City Council Member Sophia Scherman blasted a p...

Says pilot program will encourage homelessness; Will churches want shelters next?

Elk Grove City Council Member Sophia Scherman blasted a pilot program designed to help homeless people in Elk Grove get free bus transportation to pick up groceries at the Elk Grove Food Bank.

Continued (see video below)

During her five plus minute deliberation at last night's Elk Grove City Council meeting, Scherman expressed concern that free transportation is being provided to homeless people while students do not have the same access and that by providing free transportation to the homeless, the city will incentivize homelessness.

The program, which will provide verified Elk Grove homeless people with five daily non-peak passes per month (60 total per month for all participants) on the city's e-tran bus service to the Elk Grove Food Bank, is being administered by several local faith based institutions. The cost of the pilot program is estimated at approximately $4,200. 

Scherman also expressed fear that since several faith based institutions are assisting in administration of the program, it may lead them to establish homeless shelters in Elk Grove.

"I am really concerned that this program, that we are going a little to far out to help, to promote homelessness," Scherman said. "To provide them transportation to the food bank, this is a little too much."

An announced Republican candidate for the state assembly, Scherman also characterized homeless bus passengers as problematic. "We're going to be opening us, the opportunity for lawsuits," Scherman said. "They will fight because they are very territorial, you touch their stuff they get very angry."  

Aside from Scherman's comments, council member Pat Hume offered qualified support because it is a pilot program. With little further discussion the program was unanimously approved.   

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Linda Roundy said...

I can't believe an elected official can neo so callous and uneducated on homelessness. It's like a free ride is a "gate way" drug! I'm sure none if these people want to be homeless. Lend a hand to help someone up... and you will be lifted up.

Rex said...

If the faith-based institutions think this is such a good idea, then why don't they provide the transportation? Or at least provide bus fare for those in need?

Liz said...

local churches often do provide bus fare when they can afford them. The councilperson is a member of LDS faith, that faith supports a lot of people, so very surprised at her ignorant comment.

Steven Masone said...

My experience with helping the homeless taught me that those who use free passes to food shelters, mental health appointments, job centers etc...are the ones who are trying to end their homelessness. Those who want to stay homeless learn to beg, steal, hustle and often do so for alcohol and drugs. They tend to shy away from the help centers. And to suggest that homeless shelters are not welcome in Elk Grove, is heartless and ignorant. A society is judged by how they treat the less fortunate. I hope Scherman pays her 10% to LDS so she can be helped when she reaps what she sows.

BeanAfficiando said...

Clearly, this politician is profoundly misinformed and downright mean spirited. She sounds like an elitist curmudgeon.

Anyone can wind up homeless, including upper middle class, university educated professional people. Our economy is in ruins...folks with doctorate degrees and 20 years of work experience are going through unemployment two years or longer!

If you are laid off your job, your EDD unemployment benefits expire, then your friends/family get burned out and can no longer offer any loans...you wind up getting evicted from your domicile, on the street with no place to go. Or an accident, sudden disability and BOOM, you are out of work and no place to live.

Of course, there are long term, chronic homeless who abuse drugs/alcohol and are just plain rif-raff - but in my experience - most homeless folks stay in the shelter system a short time, then get back on their feet, just receiving basic assistance which is TEMPORARY.

Welfare, govt benefits, food banks, shelters are all humiliating experiences the vast majority of people loathe taking this kind of help.

I am confident this politician will get booted out of office by a disgusted electorate - I'd like to see her unemployed, unable to pay her rent, get evicted and see what is REALLY like to be homeless!

I hardly think 5 round trip bus passes is going to encourage hordes of homeless folks to descend on Elk Grove!

amawenger said...

as an Elk Grove High Almuni from Class of 1990///And she should be fired from this position ./// we here in Colorado Springs Colrado and we have shelter's run by churches that what they do.. we also got our tent city taken care og humanly and most homelss have a home and job now... so got your head out of the sand like and ostrich and grow and face it head on..

Ibu Oni said...

Does she sounds like she is drunk or is it just me?

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