No Time For Questions
It seems like the whole country is acting like George W. Bush where up is down and war is peace. I went to the Homeless Book Club meeting, otherwise known as the Office of Homeless Services Advisory, and the director presented an overview of the shelter situation since Aviation High School closed. By the way, this group does not advise anyone. "The surge is working," this last year and the 1999 quote: "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is," said George W. Bush. Ruth Gillett told us all that we are better off now without Aviation. She was comparing overflow shelter with permanent supportive housing and transitional shelter beds created. Beds that do not turn over for six months or six years cannot be compared to beds that are a short term answer to those without housing.
"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace," said George Bush in June of 2002. Gillett said that three new people come into 2100 Lakeside shelter every night, but did not realize that this meant we are witnessing an impending train wreck. I mean if we replace beds that had half the people leave every month with beds in which people do not leave for six months, we have serious problems coming down the line. It was a huge mistake to talk about overflow when talking about opening North Point transitional shelter. They have nothing to do with each other and the County is so focused on North Point that 2100 Lakeside is suffering.
"No President has ever done more for human rights than I have," said George W. Bush. I felt like I was sitting in the meeting with one goal: say something enough times people will actually start to believe it. Gillett said things were all right because in the last 10 days the 60 beds of overflow were sufficient, dismissing the fact that the City Mission was only committed through the end of the month, which would limit us to 30 beds of overflow. She did not address the reality that on one night 25 people waited in a chair for a bed. Gillett did not address the reality that we have always had a slight drop in the shelter census on the first 10 days of the month. Now I understand why no one in the White House Press Room challenges the President. There were so many things wrong with this presentation, it was impossible to pick out where to start. There is never enough time to address all the problems in the homeless community at the Homeless book club meetings.
"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," said George W. Bush after the Katrina disaster in New Orleans. The most amazing part of this meeting was Gillett's solution to this problem was to put a Gatekeeper at the Lakeside shelter to divert people from coming into the shelter. This policy, which I am calling the "There is a couch in this community with your name on it" will put people through a long screening process to figure out if there is a better or more appropriate place in Cleveland for the men who show up. It is a good thought, but we still need to address the train wreck coming because we do not have overflow anymore.
We just need a place for those banned from the rest of the shelters to go. We need a place for the sexually based offenders to get out of the cold. We need a place for those recently released from prison to go, because there are no couches in the community for them. We need somewhere that second or third shift workers can sleep. We need a place for those who cannot stand rules to get a cup of coffee. We need a place for the drunk to sober up. Some of these people are not the most desirable or employable, but they are still our brothers and they still need a place to live.
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.