These are the official numbers from the City of Akron’s project to house all our homeless people at our tent village:
8 Self-Resolved – these people disappeared.
14 Not Housed
This is those numbers visually:
These are not inconsequential numbers.
31% of our people are currently not housed.
Another 18% have just disappeared. They like to put these people in the “win” column. But they are not wins. It would be like calling high school drop outs a win.
If there wasn’t this ominous, mysterious cloud of doom coming for us, this wouldn’t be surprising or concerning at all.
Let’s be crystal clear why these people aren’t being housed.
Every single one of these people wants to be housed and theoretically can be housed.
For these people there is only one reason they are not yet in a house.
THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN
- Landlords are backing out.
- There’s a leak in a roof.
- Another building is filled with cockroaches.
- People don’t have phones so they are hard to find.
- A $400 fine popped up at the last minute and stopped the entire housing process.
- One person needs assisted living and none is available.
This is absolutely confounding to me.
In the business world the first thing you look to change is the system. You tweak it. You tear it down. It’s the essence of innovation. In the government the system is like a holy grail.
In government the system is the last thing you change. So, there is only one thing left to do. Blame the people. There is backstabbing. There is finger pointing.
Oh the finger pointing.
The problem is always with the other guy. Just if that person would get their act together.
- That agency is moving too slow.
- That person needs to work faster.
But mostly they blame the homeless:
- That homeless person won’t show up to appointments.
- This homeless person is never around when I show up.
- They are living beneath themselves.
- They are not living their best lives.
And of course I am a convenient scapegoat as well.
- I have increased homelessness 71%
- I am making homeless people too comfortable in their leaky tents in the middle of the winter
When the system is untouchable the only problem are the people who are failing the system. The system never fails the people.
This would be amusing if it wasn’t so tragic and a matter of life or death.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 3
I am told that our new official deadline is Monday, December 3. That is 5 days from today.
No one knows what that means.
But if it means that we will be forced to kick everyone off our land then I’m going to tell you what is going to happen.
These people are going to disappear. They will go back into the woods. They will go back into abandon properties. They’ll go back into drug houses.
But one thing won’t happen: They won’t go into the shelters.
Women won’t go into shelters because they are all filled. There are no beds available at the women’s shelters right now.
And men will not be dehumanized in the men’s shelter. They refuse to pray. They refuse to live around all the drugs. They refuse to leave all their personal items.
Whether people want to believe it or not, these homeless people are strong, proud and have a lot of human dignity.
They would rather die in the streets than be told to pray 3 times a day and go to bed at 8:30.
They just won’t do it.
Human dignity is a hell of a thing.
I know I ask a lot of you. But I have one last big ask before this December 3 deadline.
WOULD YOU PLEASE LET THE MAYOR KNOW YOU THINK IT IS WRONG TO SEND THESE PEOPLE BACK INTO THE STREETS.
You can fill out this simple form and he will get the message. (I’m also sending it to every council person just so they know you still care about this.)
The only fields that are required are your name and the comment box.
If you would prefer, you can also call, email or drop by the mayor. Here is that information:
CALL OR EMAIL THE MAYOR’S OFFICE.
Mayor Dan Horrigan
Suite 200 Municipal Building
166 South High Street
Akron, Ohio 44308
Tell him that these people have not been housed like they promised.
Tell him that the system needs more option not less options.
Tell him pushing homeless people out into the streets this time of year is especially cruel and downright dangerous.
Tell him to not shut down Akron’s tent village.
We are making progress. We are learning new, innovative ways to help these people.
The current system is broken. It is antiquated and insufficient. The system needs rebuilt.