I think Dan Horrigan secretly likes me

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My mom used always say how annoying it was to go places with my dad.

She said she always had to hear how “great” John was.

I come from a long line of likable guys.

It’s just in our genes.

I am probably the most eccentric of my grandfather, father and now my son.

I’m like Columbo or Doc Brown in Back to the Future.

Sure. He’s wacky. But you’re always in for a fun time when you hang around him.

It’s also true that it’s more fun to be giving hell rather than getting hell.

I remember the mayor patting my arm and saying “hey buddy” at one of the many hearings where I was resoundly and repeatedly being turned down for wanting to put tents in my back yard. It’s fun to watch the competition get beaten.

You rarely “hey buddy” a person you hate.

And look at that picture of us above from your State of the City address yesterday. I mean he gave me a DOUBLE-HANDED handshake. Even his tie wanted to get in on the action.

Phil Masturzo from the Beacon Journal took that picture and is in this article.

There was, however, that testy op-ed he put out.

Dan Horrigan: Let’s clean up the picture on the Homeless Charity – Opinion – Akron Beacon Journal – Akron, OH

He opens up with this zinger:

I’m not often compelled to pen op/ed pieces, but the current narrative and public posturing by Sage Lewis and the recently transplanted, slick, out-of-town lawyers from the Institute for Justice need to be addressed.

In hindsight it sounds like something a person might say that was just told by their girlfriend that they need to see other people.

Those slick out-of-town lawyers are just friends. When it’s all said and done we’re in this together. Him and me. Dan and Sage. I’m not going anywhere and chances are, either is he.

Our relationship was written in the stars. And no one wants to see mom and dad fight.

It’s just like that song from Deep Blue Something – Breakfast At Tiffany’s

We have to look for common ground. In our case our “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is incubators and entrepreneurship.

Those areas happen to actually be my specialty. I’ve got over 20 years in the startup space. I’m nothing if not a startup guy. And I LOVE helping people start their own businesses.

Check out these houseless people:

That’s Dustin. It turns out he got his barber’s license in prison. What if we setup a barbershop run by houseless people?

That’s Sully. He’s already setup a bicycle repair shop. Bikes are huge transportation for the houseless population.

That’s Kenny. He’s starting a screen printing business and already has 2 people asking for t-shirts.

I’ve learned that the houseless, like me, don’t make great 9-5 workers. They’re too independent. But they make GREAT entrepreneurs. They will work constantly on things they choose to work on.

I feel like our building could be an ideal makerspace and incubator for the houseless community. That’s where things seem to be heading.

Dan and I still have that one wedge issue in our relationship: Shelter.

I simply can’t abide by the idea that we are just supposed to let people suffer out in the cold with no shelter or safety. It is inhumane. We don’t allow it to happen with animals. We can’t allow it to happen with people.

Now granted, I have had problems in my execution.

He, rightfully said yesterday that “perception matters.” That’s very true. I know that as a marketer. The problem came in that I’m not that guy.

I’m the guy that makes things happen and then I work with people that make it pretty.

I was having a midlife crisis and threw 50 tents up in my backyard.  I was just venting my life frustrations on my own. Me and my new houseless friends. I wasn’t working the way I normally do… with people that do things right. I do things and other people make it right.

The concept was right. But the execution was not elegant.

Look at what just came out this week in Modesto California:

Hundreds of Stanislaus County’s Homeless to Move Into Tents Under Modesto Bridge | FOX40

Eventually, 300 tents will fill up space under the 9th Street bridge. One hundred and twenty of them were already in place Tuesday. The tents will be a 10-by-10-foot waterproof space with some of the comforts of home, like braced walls and access to bathrooms, as well as handwashing stations. The “Qamp” will serve as a no-barrier shelter. Your dog, your criminal history and your mental health status will not keep you out. City staff is just requiring people to check in at their on-site office and provide their name.

That’s in Modesto California where the medium cost of a house is $288,000.


But it wasn’t pretty.

Our camp looked like this:

I now know the error in my ways and I beg for forgiveness.

I think we can make something way prettier than what Modesto just put up. Fellow-Akronite Dave Murray designed these incredible cabins that we could use to instantly shelter the houseless population.

They are amazing!

Look: there is something going on in America. Something is off economically. People are falling out of the system onto the streets from a federal level. It’s only going to get worse the next recession.

I love working on this in Akron because it’s so doable and fixable. We’re talking 300-800 people. We have cheap land and vacant lots.

We can be the heroes of America. Solving homelessness in Akron is a real possibility.

I’m sorry I had to bring up the issue that drove Dan and I apart: shelter. I’m still sensitive. It’s important to me. And I’m sure any couples therapist would agree that it’s important that he acknowledge my feelings on this issue just as I need to acknowledge his feelings that he doesn’t want to become known as the shanty town of America. But I really want Dan and I to get together again.

So, hopefully Dan will chew on the Dave Murray cabin idea or even some other idea. We just have to get people off the streets. This kind of thing is happening in really innovative, progressive towns all throughout America.

But in the meantime let’s come together on an incubator for the homeless. It’s very revolutionary. I’d love to show the mayor around sometime. (Incidentally, it probably wouldn’t be bad optically in an election year, either.)

I’m telling you: homeless people are not the lost cause we often chalk them up to be. They are just having their own midlife crisis and are looking for a new direction. We can help guide them in a new way that helps them and helps the city.

I would love nothing more than for Dan Horrigan to be the hero of solving homelessness in Akron.




The best way you can support the work we do at The Homeless Charity is by becoming a Patron for as little as $5/month. It shows the government people care about the homeless and it helps us manage our budget a lot easier. Please click here: Become a Patron!

One thought on “I think Dan Horrigan secretly likes me

  1. I think we should have a meeting with the Mayor and the supporters of The homeless Charity Village. We can introduce to him the idea of Community Based support as in Austin Tx and other areas around the country that are addressing this issue with dignity and respect for the residents.

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