By Noam Livnat, OMVNA Chair
On February 11th a fire broke out in an apartment on Church Street, destroying the apartment and sending its resident to the hospital. I don’t know how the fire started, but investigators believe that a kerosene heater, oil lamps and candles accelerated it. These sources of heat and light were possibly used because electricity and gas service has been disconnected for months, according to neighbors.
One of the things we cherish about living in Old Mountain View is diversity. We like the diversity on Castro Street and we like the cultural diversity that results in the coming together of people from around the country and the world. But diversity also means socio-economic diversity, and sometimes hardship and poverty within our relatively prosperous community.
Almost everybody has been impacted by the recession, of course. But it’s probably those who have lost their jobs or income who are hurting most acutely. And, as the economy deteriorates, so to does funding for charitable organizations. Sadly, those most in need who often don’t know how or where to seek help. In a country where the social safety net is so frayed as to sometimes appear nonexistent, the only personal safety net left for many people is family, friends and, yes, neighbors.
Let’s be proactive about seeking out and assisting those among us who need help. It might not take much more than a question and a phone call to identify a need and find a way to help, but it always takes caring and initiative. Tough as things may yet get, these shouldn’t be in short supply. Let’s do our best to make sure a tragedy like the Church Street fire doesn’t happen again in Old Mountain View, our home.