Enough is Enough Elected Leaders!
Get Serious About Working Together to End Homelessness
For years, local elected officials have been hearing testimony, creating committees, getting emails and phone calls, putting in budget amendments, making campaign promises and commenting to the press about homelessness. We heard about it at nearly every one of the numerous mayoral forums. For years, community members have been rallying, testifying, emailing, calling, Occupying, protesting, and even getting arrested to draw attention to the needs of those who are homeless. We all know what the solutions are, its time to get serious about making them happen.
On Thursday, community leaders will once again draw attention to these issues, but this time, we are calling on our elected leaders to put their differences aside and work together with community leaders to create a plan for real action on long and short term needs. “Enough is enough, its time to get serious about solving these problems together, city and county, executive and legislative elected officials, no more pointing fingers” said Brenda Konkel, former alder and homeless advocate.
Tomorrow (Thursday, April 30th) community members will be meeting at 4:00 at “the stones” at the top of State St., they will march, rally at the City County Building at 6:00 and join their homeless brothers and sisters by sleeping out at the City County Building on Thursday night.
“We know what the solutions are. We have had funding for a comprehensive, permanent daytime resource in the County Budget for two and a half years”, said County Board Supervisor Heidi Wegleitner.
The answers are clear. All that is lacking is the political will and leadership to put aside egos, stop infighting, and stop the petty spats. We need our leaders to set their differences aside and take the following actions:
1. Develop a permanent supportive housing project (or projects) downtown to add 100 new rental units using the housing first model.
2. Open a comprehensive daytime shelter in the downtown area with showers, laundry, storage, computers, activities, food, personal supplies, needle exchange program, housing and job search assistance and other needed services. Until there is a comprehensive downtown daytime shelter, provide additional safe storage and showers.
3. Return the city port-a-potties to the downtown area and locate them in places people can find them.
4. Build a new men's shelter in one facility that was designed to be a shelter that is ADA compliant and serves the needs of those who are sick in a humane manner.
5. Allow everyone into shelter between October and April unconditionally or change the "winter night" definition from 20 degrees to 45 degrees.
6. Create a true "warming shelter" for families that ensure no child has to sleep on the streets and risk action by child protective services.
7. Fund the teen shelter and create a shelter for people with needs not met in the current shelters (e.g. transgendered, couples, etc.).
8. Extend the number of days in shelter annually to allow sufficient time to find housing instead of having people leave shelter and return to homelessness.
9. Allow persons without homes working with agencies to ride the bus for free.
10. If you want people to move off the City-County Building steps, provide a piece of land in the downtown area where people can be sheltered and legally and safely sleep outside without being ticketed.