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Mayor Horrigan Went To Bat For The Homeless

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I see myself as a person that is attempting to Speak Truth to Power.

The Quakers coined the phrase “Speaking Truth to Power” in the 1950s. 

It’s not a particularly comfortable place to be. Upsetting powerful people is never without risk.

But it is a necessity. Every time there is progress in civil and human rights it usually can be tracked back to someone speaking truth to power.

I am no anarchist, however. I am not here to deconstruct the system. I am here to reconstruct the system. I’m a remodeler not a bulldozer.

So I am always looking for the slightest glimpse of connection. I am looking for a path forward together.

Today was a first step forward together.

We applied for a conditional use to be able to establish a group home for up to 10 people in the house we own.

We had the Housing Administrator come by to do an inspection yesterday. He said because we only have 1 full bathroom and with the square footage of our rooms we can have up to 6 people live in the house.

The best news is: THE PLANNING COMMISSION APPROVED OUR REQUEST TO HAVE A 6 PERSON GROUP HOME.

They unanimously approved it.

On top of that, both the planning director and zoning director of the city recommended they approve this conditional use. These two people work for the mayor. So, really, Mayor Horrigan recommended that we be permitted to have a group home to help the homeless.

This is fantastic on so many levels.

Granted, we didn’t get our 10 person request. That’s simply a matter of housing code restrictions. But the house meets the housing code requirements for 6 people.

Even more importantly, however, is the symbolic meaning of this.

The City of Akron didn’t have to do this. They didn’t have to make a recommendation to approve this application. But they did and that is awesome.

It is a glimmer of hope that we can work together to come up with solutions to help the homeless.

I’m really excited about using the abandoned and dilapidated houses of Akron for transitional shelter for the homeless. In our program the people living in the houses are also required to help fix up the houses.

Homelessness is a not just a person simply missing a house. Homelessness is often a complicated condition that must be worked on multidimensionally. Reintegrating back into the traditional societal structure takes work and time.

We are far from done working on homelessness in Akron. We have a long, long way to go. I won’t stop standing up for the rights of the homeless. That will likely include calling out the misunderstandings of those in power.

But today the Truth to Power is that the powerful worked to help the homeless.

We still have to get final approval from City Council. But today we won. Together we won.

My sincere hope is that this is the beginning of exploring more creative ways to get the homeless off the streets of Akron.

 

 

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