I was reading about an idea someone had on Reddit:
So. My idea.
What if there were a network of small towns around the US where the economy is working and housing is cheap? Towns like the one I grew up in.
And what if there were an organization that could provide connections with people in these small towns – people who could help you find your footing, connect you with community programs in the local town?
Basically, he’s saying what would happen if we moved the homeless out of expensive towns and moved them to cheaper towns?
I’m hesitant to say that it’s absolutely a great idea. But that’s simply because I haven’t seen it work.
I will say that I really like the idea. And therefore think it needs to be tried.
I don’t know of anyone else in Akron that is brave enough to make this statement so I’ll just say it:
Send your homeless to Akron!
Our homeless infrastructure is quite good. We have shelters, feedings every night of the week, a lot of mental and physical health support systems as well as detox facilities.
I’ll also say something else slightly provocative: There is money in homelessness.
Giving by individuals makes up the vast majority of contributions received by nonprofit organizations. Giving USA 2015 estimates that individual giving amounted to $258.51 billion in 2014, an increase of 7.1 percent in current dollars from 2013. This accounts for 72 percent of all contributions received in 2014.
By standing up, being brave and having a heart I absolutely, 100% believe people will support this cause.
This is what I know about the homeless:
They are in a rough patch of their lives.
They are trying to get back in the game one way or another. You simply can’t live long as a raging alcoholic or drug addict. They know it. So the vast majority are working on getting past this point in their lives.
And then you have just expanded your workforce. Now you have people that want to work. I know that’s the case because I see it everyday.
On top of that, if other cities send us their homeless we are going to get skilled people. The notion that homeless people are worthless bums is just plain wrong. All the homeless come with a back story. And that back story usually involves a career that entailed specific skills.
Akron has the ability to take these people and help them get back into society.
On top of that, this is being done already. Communities all around us are shuttling homeless to Akron. We already are a homeless destination locally. We might as well be a homeless destination nationally.
The cost of housing in Akron is 45% lower than the national average.
- The cost of living in Akron is 8% lower than the Ohio average.
- The cost of living in Akron is 16% lower than the national average.
- The cost of housing in Akron is 45% lower than the national average.
- Ohio general sales tax is 13% higher than the national average. Ohio state income tax is 76% lower than the national average.
The cost of housing in San Francisco is 255% higher than the national average.
These high rent cities simply can’t cost effectively deal with homelessness.
I think it’s very possible we could even get money directly from these cities that send us their homeless.
This business model is very viable in my opinion.
Additionally, we can keep the homeless in specific areas of the city. We can keep them out of downtown and the west side. The east side has plenty of room for more homeless. The abandoned homes are endless over here.
The downside to the Midwest in general is that most of us are conservative in our risk taking. There is a significant level of fear.
I’m just not one of those people. I’m a risk taker and I’m not afraid. I see this as a huge opportunity for Akron to become one of the kindest, supportive cities in America. And in doing so we can show that a model of giving is very lucrative and desirable for a city.
Money will come to Akron. Smart, caring people will come to Akron. Innovation will come to Akron.
I’m telling you: the homeless bring the best and brightest to the table. I see it every day on a local scale. By being the national center for homelessness we will see more businesses move into Akron and we’ll see young people move to Akron. All to be part of this highly innovative concept.
So, put your homeless on a bus.
They can go to the Haven of Rest the first night.
Address: 175 E Market St, Akron, OH 44308
Phone: (330) 535-1563
Then come see us at The Homeless Charity and Second Chance Village the next day:
15 Broad St., Akron, OH 44305
While America might not currently believe this, Akron believes this:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
This has always been the secret to our success in America. I absolutely believe it can be the secret to our success in Akron.