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MADELINE LETCHFORD, Dana Point
The Welcome Inn feed takes much, much more from our city than it provides. In listening to the superintendent of local state parks at Homeless Task Force (HTF) meetings, it was clear that these feeds are a strain on the state beach itself; not to mention on the tourists and locals who love to use Doheny. This feed encourages transients to stay put in town where there isn’t anywhere for them to live except on sidewalks, undeveloped lots, parks or private property.
And then there is the inevitable question of where they relieve themselves. I’ve heard at a HTF meeting it’s been on the sidewalks at Carls Jr. and other local spots most people reading the Dana Point Times frequent. That’s right; human feces by your local drive-thru. The property owner of the shopping center across from the feed reported having spent three times as much in security and sanitation since the previous year and directly relates it to the Welcome Inn feed.
Not providing a free transition home or a homeless shelter with an ocean-view is never a legitimate excuse for using public or private property as free lodging or as a restroom.
At a HTF meeting, Rich Haydon of State Parks gave hard numbers on the exorbitant, increasing costs for trash cleanup from the containers provided by the feed, and the increased car break-ins at Lot 1 (Lot 1 is the closest parking lot to the feed). There was mention that parents paying for the Doheny Junior Lifeguard program had growing concerns with a children’s program where transients (which include former felons due to Prop 57) frequent the beach and bathrooms. There is limited land on the coast, and it’s not cheap. We all know that, but it’s not relevant to why this feed must only be at Doheny State Beach. Residents can only bear so much burden for a daily, public area feed that is not providing the services these people need; other than a quick-fix handout.
The Welcome Inn continues to abuse our small town’s resources, and is wrongly comfortable with straining and stressing out a lot of good people who live here. Blowing off the people who shop and support local businesses and restaurants on an ongoing basis is not Christian. It’s selective.