To be clear : THIS IS NOT TALKING ABOUT Second Chance VILLAGE. This is about a Camp site we have been helping remotely near Haven of Rest.
I just got word yesterday that the city of Akron is shutting down the outreach camp we’ve been working with.
It’s absurdly comical that officials shut down camps in the middle of the winter.
Second Chance Village was started because a group was kicked out of the space where Freedom Trail was being built. I’ll never forget the day. It was January 7, 2017.
Kabir Bhatia from WKSU was one of the first reporters on that story. This one was posted on January 8, 2017:
Homeless People In Akron Have Some Ideas After Being Asked to Leave the Freedom Trail | WKSU
The picture in that article is of our basement on that day.
Less than a year later it looks more like this:
We started with just an empty basement.
And through work ENTIRELY done by the “useless”, forgotten, invisible homeless, we now have:
- Computer lab
- Clothes closet
- Food pantry
And for the record, we are working incredibly close with the fire inspector to get the building approved for people to use as a day center.
And ALSO for the record, no matter how cold it gets, no matter how much people beg, we are not allowing people to sleep in our building as an emergency shelter. We will be shuttling people to Haven of Rest and other places.
There are people in the world that are great at pointing out problems. But don’t have any solutions.
We are the product of that frustrating system.
We are a solution. And all we hear is all the problems we’re causing.
And now the city has so wisely found another problem.
They’ve found a tent community that is too cluttered. Is too unseemly.
So how do they solve that problem? How do they fix the glaring homeless epidemic that is America today?
They “solve” the problem by kicking people off land but offer no other solution. Do they think for one minute what will happen with those people? Do they not have one sliver of a heart? Do they not have even a mild curiosity for what happens next?
Well let me tell you what will happen next:
- These people were right behind Haven of Rest. When the temperature falls below 25 degrees Haven opens their doors to anyone. So these people had a quick way of getting out of the cold. That support is now gone. (And I’m the one being accused of threatening them with hypothermia and death.)
- The Haven of Rest offers lunch and dinner to the public. Now that is gone.
- People brought them firewood for their barrel. There is no way they can carry that. So that’s gone.
- They knew who their neighbors were so they knew who to trust and not trust. So that’s gone.
- The are scattering even as we speak. So people we could work with and support have disappeared. It’s likely we’ll never see some of them again.
- St Bernard Parish also has a bagged lunch program Monday-Friday from 8:30 A.M.-9:30 A.M in the Bill Corbett Center (Bologna House). That will now be gone.
These people will run like scared cats deeper into the woods. They will make themselves more isolated. More alone.
Don’t you see that actually seeing the homeless is what we want? It means they are willing to be vulnerable and open to society. They are willing to take help.
Now we’ve terrified them and they are running away. You’ve just made a bad situation 10 times worse. IN DECEMBER!!!
All the bonds we’ve made have been broken.
You think making them disappear is a good thing. But it is a wound festering and undermining your entire city.
You want these people back in society yet you have absolutely no understanding of who they are and how to work with them.
You likely have a better understanding how to work with a feral cat than you do with a homeless human. And the only reason is because you’ve never taken one minute to think about who they are and what they need.
But ya know what? We’ll handle it. We’ll take care of it.
Throw your homeless under a bridge. Then go to that bridge and throw them out of that place. We’ll sweep them up.
Your homeless situation will never get better with this cycle. It will only get worse.
But congratulations. You made some incredibly poor, incredibly damaged people disappear.