Recently, Diamond Bar-Walnut Patch blogger Cassandra Hsiao wrote about a homeless woman who regularly sleeps on a bus bench near the McDonald’s on Grand Avenue.
Hsiao reached out to the community and to city officials in an effort to get the woman, who is suspected of having some mental health issues, assistance.
At last week’s Walnut City Council meeting, staff gave an update on what the city has done so far in reaching out to the unnamed woman.
Mary Rooney, the city’s community services director, said that Walnut Sheriff’s Deputy Doug Daley has made contact with the woman, going “above and beyond.”
The contacts provided a chance to make an assessment and get information needed to get her the assistance she needs, Rooney said.
“There is lots of reluctance and someone needs to want to accept the help,” she said. “The idea is to allow clergy and social services and as many people make contact in the hopes that one day she will accept that assistance.”
Mayor Mary Su said that a social worker is assisting the woman. Several facilities and churches are willing to offer her a place to stay for a week or two weeks, but she can’t be forced to leave, Su said.
“She likes Walnut,” she said. “If a person has mental illness, the sheriff’s cannot force her or take her away. She has to be willing to go on her own.”
The Sheriff’s Department has contacted the woman’s family and they are unwilling or unable to help, Su said.
The mayor urged the public not to give her money, adding that donations might make it harder to get her to accept help from social services.
“It is not safer for her to live on the bench,” Su said. “The social worker is working with her. Let the social worker and the sheriff’s deal with her at this point.”