photos by Karen Laslo
The Chico City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to consider moving the Jesus Center and consolidating services to the homeless in southeast Chico. But Chicoans packed the meeting, some in favor of the plan, some opposed and some warning that the homeless shouldn’t be merely shuttled from downtown unless more services will be provided.
Bill Such, former Jesus Center executive director, said he fears the move could “compromise the identity” of the center. Such compared the homeless to Jesus of Nazarene, who he said was “intentionally homeless” and rejected by his family. “In Christian terms, Jesus, with nowhere to rest, is the homeless god,” Such said.
Leslie Johnson, co-founder of Chico Housing Action Team, cautioned that housing must be made available to people who complete Jesus Center programs or the center will be a “dead end.”
Meanwhile, a homeless person, wrapped in a worn sleeping bag, lay outside City Hall in an effort to weather the cold and get a few hours of sleep.