Parents, teachers and community members, 13 in all, expressed questions and concerns regarding homelessness and education dung an informal gathering with Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval Saturday.
Sandoval was on hand at Café con Libros in downtown Pomona, where he talked about the complexities of housing and how Pomona gets a bad rap in the local media.
He shared that Pomona will open a new homeless service center in downtown with a groundbreaking in the next few weeks.
The center will have 400 beds and a pet park, and will provide mental health and substance abuse services.
“The service center is not for homeless to come and stay there (long term),” Sandoval said. “It is a way for them to use the resources that we offer to get them back on their feet,” Sandoval said.
Sandoval said Pomona is doing its best to fix the homelessness situation rather than neglecting it.
Sandoval also said he is concerned about the children in the city.
“Families walking down the street … and the child sees homeless people with needles around them, beer cans… People want to be able to walk around and feel safe,” Sandoval said.
Sandoval said that progress starts with the community organizers using their resources.
Sandoval and other speakers also addressed the issue of public education.
Some raised concern that Pomona public schools are not preparing kids for college.
“I love my city of Pomona,” said Yanice Hilario, social media manager for Pomona-based Golden Royalty Marketing. “(I was) born and raised here. But why are some kids from Garey High School not going to a four-year university?
Sandoval said community environment can be a barrier to higher education.
“We have a nice baseball field but we cannot get the kids to have iPads in the classroom from them to learn from,” said Ion Puschila, social studies teacher at Garey High School.
Puschila said that schools in Pomona lack basic resources like textbooks, computers, and iPads.
“We need to get in someone’s face about that,” Puschila said.
Anthony Carter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.