Congressman tours, praises Rescue Mission
By Joe Szydlowski of the Redding Record Searchlight
The North State's congressman got a tour of the Good News Rescue Mission's facilities Wednesday, including its nearly finished Victory House.
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) also updated the Mission's Executive Director Jonathan Anderson on federal legislation that would augment mental health services.
"It would help the money flow where it needs to be," LaMalfa said. "Mental health is a big component of what you see."
Because many homeless people are veterans, fixing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is also a high priority, LaMalfa said. It has been the target of intense scrutiny over wait times for medical procedures.
He also praised the Rescue Mission's programs and the help it provides to people with addictions and those without homes.
"What you see here are smiles and hope," he said. Anderson took LaMalfa around the Rescue Mission's administrative campus and to Victory House, a soon-to-be completed shelter for women and children.
That new facility will allow the Rescue Mission to separate homeless women from those participating in the mission's drug rehab programs, Anderson said.
"We have a lot of women in the shelter and (the homeless ones sometimes) bring drugs in and try to entice the recovery women," he said.
When the Mission conducted a similar split for men, the treatment center's success rate went up, he said.
The Victory House is expected to open in April, said Ken White, spokesman for the mission.
During the tour, LaMalfa also met Daniel McAllister, who came up to Redding in December 2004 to enroll in the mission's treatment program after his cousin, one of its alumni, suggested it.
He said he was using methamphetamine to cope with anything that upset him.
"If something was going bad in my life, I would go get high," he said.
Anderson also spoke about the mission's college readiness program, a partnership with local law enforcement to prepare some offenders to attend higher education, he said.
The average GPA is 3.5, Anderson said.
"Wow. They have motivation," LaMalfa replied.