a related post on the same topic- the poor
I'm going to be very critical with this post so this is the warning:
In recent days/weeks, some know I have worked in tandem with local community activities, specifically in Allen County, driving home about the need for more care and due diligence of the homeless population. In a recent survey, it was found that over 700 are in Fort Wayne, over 1,100 in Allen County, and even more, total, in northeast Indiana. Given I ran for federal public office, and my background in mental health, the homeless situation was one I hold very dear to my heart. Because of this, I felt drawn to aid in any way to help those that are less fortunate.
2 weeks ago, on 1/13/15, I sat in the Fort Wayne City Council, an advocate to assist for a call by several on a homeless challenge. This challenge was simple: 7 days, 6 nights, 0 comforts. This was for the members of elected office, in Fort Wayne, to understand the trials people have to face on the street. 9 council members were challenged along with the mayor (who was not present.) During this meeting, the public forum was offered. I was involved in a discussion in the hallway when this started as I had agreed to be the opening speaker (as such, I was speaker #4). I had encountered some information prior to this meeting that was indirectly related to the homeless situation, and given my policy of having 2 credible sources for my information, I preceded.
To start, I challenged the council members to take part in 1 night of being homeless. In 2015, I have not and doubt I will, enter into a political race, but given my passion for this issue and that I ran in 2014 political office, I felt obliged to do the same. Here's where my critical statements start.
Long have I learned that language is 30% what you hear and 80% what you see. What I saw struck me. No direct eye contact from 7/9 council members (Geoff Paddock and Thomas F. Didier were the only 2 to give me eye contact) while I spoke. After my first round of questions, I went in to what I learned previously. I asked specifically about the recent announced "The Landing" project. Now, I was given some credible information and proceeded to ask. I don't hold council responsible, directly, on budget cuts, but I do hold them responsible that they are elected officials who can address the homeless situation. I asked about a topic that goes hand-in-hand, to a degree, with the homeless situation --- Legacy.
I asked specifically, to all 9 council members, if any Legacy funds were used in "The Landing" purchase of 7 buildings. I got a cold stare along with 2/9 remarks of "no", 1/9 saying "I don't know", 1/9 shrug of the shoulders, 3/9 failing to look at me, and 2/9 playing on their phones texting and writing on a pad of paper.
Truth be told...the next day, a 3rd confirmation emerged --- Legacy funds were "loaned" ($1 million) for purchasing these buildings and with no developer. I had one council member, Tom Smith, accost me after the meeting saying I had no idea what I was talking about and that in no way had they used the funds for that purchase.
While our homeless in Fort Wayne, and surrounding communities, goes unchecked except for unlawful arrests and destruction of their property, City's sit on countless hundreds of thousands of HUD funding, we have propaganda used to showcase a pilot program that does not address the short-term situation facing our homeless, we have vacant properties labeled for "green" use, and we have this being another "since it's in the news, we will throw this news item (pilot program) out there in hopes it blows over" response.
Our citizens deserve better, and they deserve every, last, elected representative replaced. Our citizens deserve someone that understands what is happening in the communities, and will put partisanship aside, and do what is best for those without a voice as much as those who contribute to campaigns. Every person in the community has a say in how government works, and it's about time anyone wanting to run for political office remembers they are running to represent the peoples' voice...not their own.