Problems With Government Homeless Policies

Housing for Disabled Turned Down for Ohio City

For the first time in Cleveland, the State of Ohio turned down tax credits to move a Permanent Supportive Housing Project forward.  There was some controversy with regard to this project, and the Plain Dealer gave coverage to the groups opposed to this property.  In an amazing stance, the liberal Green Party candidate for Cuyahoga County Executive came out against housing homeless people in his neighborhood.  One former legislator and leader in Ohio City went down to Columbus to testify against the Ohio City Permanent Supportive Housing Project.  It is unbelievable that these residents would rather have a vacant Hollywood video lot rather than a housing property with 24 hours of staff watching out for problems.  Anyway, the State of Ohio turned down tax credits.  It is not clear why the tax credits were turned down.  There were many things operating against this project not the least of which was the community opposition.  We do not know which of the issues led to this rejection.  There was a plan to provide communities with no supportive housing additional points in the selection process.  There may have been behind the scenes lobbying by state legislators, and it could have been that Cleveland area projects were awarded tax credits with five other projects.  There was the problem that the cost of this project per unit made it difficult to compare to other projects.  All of these strikes against the PSH made it difficult for the State Ohio Housing Finance Agency to support this project.  This is a loss for Cuyahoga County and for homeless people who need all the housing opportunities we can fund.  The Housing First people have vowed to keep trying next year.

We have to thank Cuyahoga County, the City of Cleveland, the Office of Homeless Services, Enterprise Community Housing, and the Cleveland Housing Network for all their work on these projects.  We would suggest that both Cuyahoga County Council and the Cleveland City Council pass resolutions opposing the state prioritizing communities without PSH developments over those advanced Housing First projects.

Philadelphia Moves to Limit Feeding Programs

The Mayor of Philadelphia is moving forward on a plan to regulate the distribution of food in public parks.  There is no good reason that City officials should pass laws regulating food.  These can all be done through compromise and agreement without having to resort to a law.  Cleveland has worked out an agreement, and this can be done in any city.   There are many reasons why there needs to be compromise including the health and safety of those eating the food, but passing a law to restrict religions from expressing their faith with the less fortunate is an assault on those religious groups.  These bans and mandatory training will only lead to court challenges and nothing being done for years.  It is unlikely that a court in Pennsylvania will side with the City of Philadelphia on this freedom to practice one's religion. 

Blasting Homeless People with Sound in San Francisco

This is a case of the City failing to act to protect all citizens in a city.  San Francisco has allowed a theater owner to blast loud music, the recording of a jackhammer and other construction sounds to be blasted in an alley to disperse people sleeping there.  You know that authorities would be all over a homeless person playing their music too loud on a boom box or other activities that "disturb the peace" for those in housing.  This blasting of music and noise is just one more example of a city giving up of ever solving homeless people. 

Brian Davis

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