Homelessness is a community problem. Addressing it is a community responsibility.
As Mission Solano Rescue Mission celebrates its 15th anniversary, we celebrate the work done by it and other groups in the region to make a difference in the lives of our neediest citizens.
Since its start in 1998, when it had a single bus parked next to the Homeless Day Center on West Texas Street, Mission Solano estimates that it’s provided more than 1.2 million shelter nights and 2.3 million meals to people in need. Combined with other organizations – Heather House, The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, Vacaville’s Opportunity House and myriad others – Mission Solano has not only provided shelter, but changed lives.
Mission Solano’s Ron Marlette, a high school dropout who sold drugs and was occasionally homeless himself, says that the stereotype of a homeless person has changed over the years.
“A hundred years ago, the typical homeless person was a white, middle-aged man who ‘fell off the wagon.’ He would get clean and go back to work,” Marlette said. “Now we have a lot of homeless from age 20 to 40. The fastest-growing population is single women with children.”
Providing a meal and a dry place to sleep is just the start.
Shelters such as Mission Solano provide counseling, substance-abuse programs, education, job training and health care. Mission Solano’s success – growing into one of Solano County’s largest nonprofit groups in 15 years, with the $8.5 million Bridge to Life Center, the Community Outreach Center, a thriving thrift store and nearly 50 employees – underscores the need for its services and the importance of cooperation by churches, businesses, civic leaders and hundreds of volunteers.
As Mission Solano commemorates 15 years of providing exemplary service – overcoming major obstacles along the way – we celebrate its work, as well as that done by similar groups in town.
Many homeless have found a place to stay. Many hopeless have found a reason for faith. Many residents who are neither homeless nor hopeless have teamed up with the organization to provide care and had their lives enriched.
We’re glad Mission Solano has a home in Solano County.