There was an opinion piece in yesterday’s Akron Beacon Journal titled, “After the Tent Village.”
Basically it is a message to city council to vote no on our tent city.
As a message to whoever wrote that piece, it was probably unnecessary. My belief is that we have 4 votes and probably can’t get to the needed 7.
Let me also say that I agree on the idea that we have made progress. That if I disappeared from earth tomorrow I believe the homeless situation in Akron would be incrementally better than when we started.
But I’m not an incrementalist. If I was able to speak with my activist mentors: Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., do you think a single one of them would pat me on the back and tell me I did a good job?
I highly doubt it. I would hope they would critique me as an enthusiastic apprentice, tell me how I’ve screwed up so far and how I need to stop pussyfooting around and get to the serious work of the matter.
This is not some pet project for me. That I helped 40 people and now I can feel satisfied with my work.
By the time I’m done I hope to change the lives of all the hundreds of thousands of homeless that live in squalor and terror on the streets of America.
I didn’t come here to be told I did a good job. I came to do the job.
If, and likely when, the city forces the homeless of Akron to walk away from the only place that truly cared about them, we will move our work to the streets of Akron. We will care for them in the hovels the city will so graciously allow them to stay in until they decide they can’t stay there anymore. And then we’ll move to the next place and the next place and the next.
Because the truth of the matter is there is not enough housing for all the people that need it in Akron. If there is then give me the addresses and I’ll drive them there tomorrow. It’s a strawman argument. You are intentionally misrepresenting the amount of actual houses in Akron because it is easier to defeat than the real argument.
We who work with the homeless world know that there are 20,000 people on the wait list for subsidized housing through the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority.
And homeless service providers will even admit it, except when talking about us. It was made abundantly clear in this Akron Beacon Journal article on November 1, 2016 about the new homeless facility, Stoney Pointe:
Demand for long-term housing for the homeless in the Akron area far exceeds the supply. At The Commons at Madeline Park, a similar project developed by Community Support Services and Testa Enterprises, some 1,000 are on the waiting list.
They change their “facts” however it suits them.
Joe Scalise from the rapid rehousing program, Home Again, says it very clearly in this Cleveland.com article from July 13, 2018:
Are there enough shelters?
No. Residents seeking housing vouchers through Akron’s housing authority have about a three-year wait, Scalise.
So start thinking about how you’re going to spin how great it is for these people living terrified for their lives on the streets. Because that’s where these people are headed.
This I assure you, the homeless of Akron are going to go into hiding no longer. We have given them something more powerful than anything you can fight them with. We have given them dignity. We have given them respect. We have given them back their humanity which you stole from them when you told them to go shut up and hide under that bridge.
We will share their story and we will encourage them to stand as the heirs of the American inalienable right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They have come from generations of hard working Americans and have, up until this moment, been exemplary American citizens. And as soon as they fell down America turned their back on them.
This is unjust. This is inhumane. This is un-American.
They will not hide any more.