Last night I was berated by Akron City Councilman Mike Freeman at the weekly city council meeting.
You can see his lecture to me here:
(you have to click on the link because they won’t allow us to embed the video on our site. It will take you directly to his speech.)
This dressing down was because I asked city council if they thought about or cared about the homeless.
How DARE I even ask the question if they care about the homeless?
I will have more thoughts on Mike Freeman later. But today I want to talk about the mental torture the city is putting these homeless people through.
As you may know, the city said we had 60 days to house 46 people. That put us right around Thanksgiving.
Then they gave us a two week extension. That put us to yesterday.
NOW they say they made a miscalculation. The deadline is actually Friday.
Imagine if you were on death row and your executioner toyed with you like this.
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If ever there was a definition of Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment, this process simply has to be the text book definition of it.
It is December 4. It is 32 degrees.
14 people still live here hoping with all hope that they will get housed.
Most have a path to getting housed… eventually.
But it’s not like everyone is going to be housed by Friday. We are looking at deep into December that HOPEFULLY these people will get housed.
Houses simply aren’t ready.
Agencies are throwing each other under the bus. Blame is being thrown around the room like a hot potato.
All because the city has created uneducated, unrealistic deadlines imposed on the homeless service providers of Akron.
So, yes. I asked if they cared about the homeless. But maybe I should have asked the mayor’s office if THEY care about the homeless. But they never talk to us. So, I would never get the chance to ask them if they care. It’s not like they are at all involved in this process. I would imagine asking them if they care would be a rhetorical question.
I mean, the mayor wrote the second op-ed piece in 3 years of being mayor on this topic and all he did was berate me, and berate the homeless by saying they are living “beneath human dignity.”
All they care about is zoning. I mean, literally, that’s all they talk about. The mayor said it. Freeman said it.
But this is now worse. A lack of care is world’s better than this unknowing and shifting deadline torture.
A person yesterday asked me to let city council know that we are the last stop for him and to please not take it away.
People are here crying, yelling, fighting. Some are depressed. Some are riddled with anxiety. Does any of this matter to ANYONE in power?
How can a powerful person be so callous and have so little empathy for the least among the people they govern? They truly can’t possibly know what they are doing to these people. These people who have lost everything and everyone and are hanging on by a thread are living terrified that some day some powerful person will walk in and force them back out onto the streets. Kicking them off of my private land.
I just asked a person who is living nowhere why they don’t go to the Haven of Rest. He said he would rather live on the sidewalk in a wet sleeping bag in a draft than go to the Haven. His reason was because people that work there treat him like they don’t want him there. He also hates the 3 minute gang showers because it reminds him of jail.
I’m sure Mike Freeman was so angry at me for asking if council cared about the homeless because it touched a delicate spot in him. Listen to his speech. He says it right there. ZONING. Nothing is more important than zoning.
There is no amount of human suffering, anguish and brutality that is more important than zoning.
If you actually care about the homeless you have a funny way of showing it. All I see is a complete disregard for a part of your population that doesn’t vote and doesn’t have any money so they are nothing more than a pain in your asses.
This is brutally disgusting.