The name “Park Providence” came to me as I was witnessing with some delight the successful efforts of the homeless in Ventura, California to obtain a temporary land use permit for a piece of sandy property owned by the city.
These homeless have struggled with the local authorities and society at large to prove that they were made out of the same stuff as you and me. They have dreams, wants and desires much like the rest of us. Yet due to some twist of fate they find themselves on the sandy floor of a lot used by the city to store their equipment, protected by a gate and chain link fence away from the sight of the residents.
They were given permission to occupy this lot for six months, after being evicted from the banks of the Ventura River along with some 180 others. This was brought about after months of struggle and endless discussions between their well-wishers from charitable foundations, local churches, Rotarians and the authorities of Ventura County.
The city authorities were being compelled to adhere to the city ordinances and to hear the hue and cry from the local tax paying citizens, who where content to go to sleep every night all snuggled up in their warm and fluffy beds. Meanwhile, the overlooked tried to find warmth wrapped up in blankets, sheets, towels and the like, keeping themselves dry using scraps of tarps found here and there and old, torn and tattered camping tents.
In the end though, love and concern for our American brothers and sisters prevailed, and a request for the extension of the land use is being put before the city council. Many thanks to Mr.Andrews, Mr.Cole, Mr.Brown and others of the city of Buenaventura who went out of their way to make this happen.