2017-08-24 / Local News

Mariposa Open Arms to celebrate its history with closing potluck Aug. 31

Mariposa Open Arms (MOA) is a ministry of the Mariposa United Methodist Church, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and other faith-based groups in the area that has provided overnight accommodations for the homeless in the community for more than five years.

As reported by the Gazette on June 8, with the leaders of both churches about to leave their positions, Mariposa Open Arms decided to cease operations on June 1. However, at the request of members of the Methodist Church, MOA decided to extend overnight accommodations at the Methodist Church another 90 days to allow for a more orderly transition to alternate housing possibilities. 

During this 90-day period, the MOA Board of Directors has been working with the Mariposa County Human Services Department to do exactly that. The last night that MOA guests will stay at the Methodist Church will be Aug. 31.

On that evening, a celebration of MOA’s five year history will be held, with a worship service at 6:30 p.m. and a potluck dinner at 7 p.m. Everyone who has worked with MOA guests over the years is encouraged to attend and bring a dish to share.

While the original proposed solution of trailers either adjacent to the Mariposa County Jail or at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds has not worked out as planned, and other alternate sites are still being considered, case managers associated with the Human Services Department and the Heritage House, where the homeless stay during the day, have been working with each of the MOA guests and individual solutions have been proposed. In many cases, this may mean beds and services in other communities where housing is much more readily available. 

Suitable transportation will be provided as needed. Not surprisingly, the Detwiler Fire has only further exacerbated the shortage of housing and finding homes for MOA guests has become increasingly more difficult.

While MOA is ceasing its overnight accommodations for the homeless at the Methodist Church, the MOA Board of Directors, including Allison Byerley, the new Methodist pastor, will continue to meet on a monthly basis to monitor the ongoing situation with the homeless and the Human Services Department and provide ministry as appropriate.

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