Saturday, March 17, 2012

Former Governor Goes Undercover

New Jersey State Legislator Becomes Homeless for the Night

Former Governor and current State Senator Richard Codey dressed up as a homeless guy and visited the shelters in Newark.We had a County Commissioner stay in the shelter in the mid 2000s.  Unlike Peter Lawson Jones's visit to the shelter, Governor Codey found serious problems with the shelter system in Newark.  He found that a mentally ill person is turned away from nearly every shelter in the community.  This would not be an issue in Cleveland since we have guaranteed access to shelter, but there are other problems that the Commissioner should have found.  The only thing that Jones reported was that there were not any condiments. 

Most shelters in the United States screen out those who are different.  They restrict those who are drunk, transsexuals, mentally ill, those with a criminal background, or those who have male children over 12.  Shelters often times force people to change to fit into their system.  In most cities, they screen out as many people as they help.  The Governor found out about these problems and is going to work to change the shelter system in Newark.  We need some politician in Cleveland to dress up and stay a couple of days in the shelters in Cleveland.  They could see the staff who don't really want to work with homeless people and should be freed from this burden through termination.  They could see the problems with food and a lack of special diets for those with diabetes and those with food allergies.  They could see how the shelters attempt to convince people to go back where they came from.  This politician could see the problems with theft and the overcrowded conditions.  The could see how the rules change frequently and how there is no independent oversight of the local shelters.  What are you and Frank doing next Sunday, FitzGerald? 

All taxpayers think that if the worst happens to them there is a place to go for help.  They incorrectly believe that there is emergency housing is available or emergency rent money can be found or that the safety net is not full of holes.  They believe that they could find a space in a shelter for their husband and three children.  It is a miracle if an intact family can find shelter without having to spend time broken up. We applaud a politician taking the time to find out how the services they support are doing in their community. 

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