Out of Control Policy Blog

Zoning out volunteers

The city of Santa Ana wants Catholic Worker Dwight Smith to boot 100 homeless people (mostly women and children) from his home. But Smith is refusing to be bullied. He says Jesus said to invite the poor into our homes not into "a city-approved church, social hall or homeless shelter."

The city declared the Catholic Worker House a public nuisance because the group is operating a mission out of a home without permits and has (horrors!) illegal tents–used to store food and clothes–in the backyard.

Meanwhile, California is in the midst of a huge financial crisis and Arnold is looking to do some belt-tightening. The city should be praising Catholic Worker for filling a need not met by government:

Other relief agencies, some as far away as Long Beach, keep sending those they can't shelter to the Worker, where there's no room at the inn. Dwight Smith says he was recently forced to tell a homeless woman with throat cancer and a wheelchair-bound husband that he was out of money and space.

By the way, Orange County Catholic Worker does all its good work on a $12,000 monthly budget–wonder how far that 12 grand would go at a government agency.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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