Let's not toss the baby out with the bathwater

The city's homeless center, Interfaith Care Community of Ashland, has been shut for a week. That means a week without services for those who need them the most.

The center provided a local address, phones, showers and other things needed by the most unfortunate among us that are easy for some to take for granted. There was also job training and volunteers to help uplift people and move their lives to better place.

The need for a community outreach center, such as the shuttered ICCA, will only grow as the mortgage crises forces more people out of their homes, and the cost of the basic necessities &

food, clean water, shelter, gas &

make it progressively harder for those on the edge to keep from falling off into an abyss of despair.

No doubt it was a tough call for Sharon Schrieber and the board of the Interfaith Care Community of Medford to shut the center. It may also have been the right call &

with need in other areas of the county outweighing the small number of people served in Ashland.

Centrally located, Medford is the logical place to keep the lion's share of the services and shelters for the county.

But the homeless &

and soon-to-be-homeless &

are still here. And most everyone &

not just the homeless &

has need for a helping hand on occasion.

Schreiber and the ICCM are wise to take a step back and think about the next move. But we hope they don't take too long to come up with a solution in Ashland.

The Interfaith Care Community started in Ashland years ago because this is a community that cares. Civic leaders and the faith community must again become involved in this issue and come up with a solution to bring back, at a minimum, services such as phones, a mailing address and job training back to Ashland. These services need to be within reach of those who need them. A bus ride to Medford does not cut it for those who need help here, now.

The issue of helping the homeless often gets confused, as those who "choose" to be homeless are lumped together with those honestly trying to pull themselves and their families out of a tight situation. It's easy for some to think &

if not to say out loud &

good riddance to the ICCA. Maybe with it gone, our tourists and residents won't be hassled by transients who think of Ashland as a great place to stop by on their travels.

That may or may not be true, but there are real babies getting thrown out with that bathwater.

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