Today is August 3, 2018.
According to this article in the Akron Beacon Journal, Housing the homeless a challenge as authorities move to shutter tent city:
The Continuum [of Care] had set a deadline of Aug. 1 to move Lewis’ roughly 40 tenants into something sturdier and more secure than a tent.
I thought it was going to be like Henry Cavill loading his arms in the new Mission Impossible movie:
Continuum of Care people were going to flood into our building and would be practically throwing people into houses.
YOU get a house! YOU get a house! YOU get a house.
But it’s more like crickets
No one has called. No one has stopped by. It’s pretty much exactly how it has always been.
I’m learning that some people in authority just say words to suit the given situation.
They tell people there is too much need when they want to build another building. They tell people there is housing for everyone when they are referring to our tent city.
But actions speak louder than words.
The truth is that the system is broken, homelessness is increasing, shelters are more like prisons and the entire system is nearly impossible to navigate.
If you Google the phrase: Akron Continuum of Care, you go to a page on the Akron City Web site that looks like this:
The Continuum of Care is supposed to be the group of organizations in Akron that take care of the homeless.
This page irritates me because a city councilman has come to me twice this week and asked me what the hell is going on with this page.
The council person got a tip that a pregnant mom, dad and two kids were about to become homeless.
He had just been to a meeting where the Continuum of Care met with all the council people.
So he thought he’d call the Continuum of Care to see what advice they could give.
He called that number above AND GOT THE FREAKING WATER DEPARTMENT!
He first called me in disbelief. He just kept saying, “How would it feel if I was about to become homeless? I call the people that are supposed to help me and I get the water department.”
People email me, call me and come to me crying (literally tears running down their faces). They are so scared. They don’t know what to do. They don’t know where to turn. They and their entire family are about to be out on the street.
Imagine being in that situation, calling what you think is the Continuum of Care, and getting the water department. It’s like a grotesque and carnivalesque scene from a novel by Kafka.
I’m worried because what I fear is going to happen is that come September, City Council is going to vote that we have to close our tent city.
Then the city planners will call the Continuum of Care to ask them if it’s ok to close our tent city. The Continuum of Care hates our tent city because it makes them look bad because they don’t actually have the Akron homeless situation under control.
The Continuum of Care will say, “No worries. Close that terrible, rotten place down. We’ll get all those people housed.”
And the city, wanting this whole thing behind them will gladly send the cops to shut us down.
And then all these people will be on the street… just in time for winter.
That’s what I’m worried about.
But unlike politicians and bureaucrats, we aren’t just sitting around talking.
We are moving into the Second Phase of our process.
WE JUST PURCHASED OUR FIRST HOUSE!
It’s the red house right behind our property.
If I could snap my fingers I’d get 10 houses and put all our people in them today.
Houses are expensive and slow to get online. That’s the beauty of a tent. Tents cost $50 and can be up in 10 minutes.
Our goal now is to continue to get more houses.
These houses will be low barrier homes.
Some people will pay. Some people will work to pay for their rent.
We won’t require anything from these folks. They will just move into the houses.
Homelessness happens fast. The system to assist the homeless needs to work as fast.
There is not a single piece of paper that is more important than helping a person or family that has become homeless.
Paperwork, if a must, can come later.
We must make getting people off the street the absolute number one priority. The street is hell on earth.
But there is a catch. There’s always a catch. 🙂
In order to make the dream a reality, we have to stay outside of the government system. Government money comes with endless requirements and obligations. It’s a slow moving machine.
We need people like you to help make this all happen.
We want you involved in many ways. We are going to need volunteers and supplies. (Drywall and drywall screws is a big thing at the moment.) We’ll talk more about that.
But we also need your financial support. To that end, we just launched our first Homeless Charity Brick Campaign.
We are going to be making a brick walkway in front of our home and we would love for you to contribute an engraved brick for the walkway.
We have 3 items you can purchase:
A 4×8 brick
An 8×8 brick
or a super awesome large bench.
We are running this campaign on Indiegogo. It’s a very cool platform that lets organizations like ours create these kinds of campaigns.
If you’ve read this far you clearly are a supporter and great advocate of ours.
Please take a moment to click over to our Brick Campaign and learn about how you can become a part of it.