Yesterday the Washington Post had a poignant story about Peter Bis who had passed away while living on the streets of DC. He had a great story of traveling the country, living next to the United Nations, and then settling in DC. It is unfortunate that our health care system does not do a better job of taking care of those struggling with a mental illness. Peter Bis sounded like a great person that deserved a place inside with a door to lock for his peace of mind. Imagine the stories Bis could have written or the creative mind that could have been unleashed on the world had he not had to worry every single day where he was going to live that night. Shouldn't someone or some agency have the responsiblity of finding and help maintaining a place to live for people who do not have the capability to take care of their personal affairs because of their disability?
My own, Peter Bis, is pictured here. Sam was homeless for a long period of time in Cleveland. He was the nicest guy you could ever meet. Life on the streets took a toll on him with a number of violent attacks by young people stealing his stuff. Life outside is hard on a person's body and shortens your life. Sam was quiet and spent his time rolling cigarettes for sale. He never bothered anyone and in another life he was the kind uncle who was wise beyond his years and would be doling out life lessons from his front porch. He would have been the guy you stop and see in his retirement to keep up on all the gossip in a community. Sam would have done a lot better living in a northern city in the late 1950s when hard work was valued with wages that allowed a person to maintain a house, and we respected our elders. He never seemed unhappy with his lot in life, but it was tough on his body. I always sought him out at the shelters or drop in centers to find out what was going on in the community. If you gave him some time he could tell you how things were going in the shelters or with regard to homeless people. I knew that if Sam was angry about something it was a big deal, and I had to make it one of my priorities. I miss Sam who passed away in 2006.
Also, in case you missed it Larry Davis of the Cleveland of HUD Tenants had his letter to the editor published yesterday regarding Phillip Morris. We had a commentary about Morris in our blog. One good quote from Larry in the paper:
Phillip Morris displays a complete lack of respect and a gross misunderstanding of the issues facing the poor throughout Greater Cleveland. In implying that a tenant has little right to complain because she is living in government housing, he misrepresents the both the facts and expectations for all involved.
Finally, our friend from ESOP Mark Siefert, the foreclosure specialist in Cleveland has a nice commentary in the Plain Dealer today about the awful state of housing in the United States.
However, none of the thousands of campaign ads this election season focuses on how to fix our housing crisis or bring principal correction to Ohio's underwater families. The housing "crisis" is in fact a catastrophe -- one our politicians need to start talking about immediately.
ESOP is hosting a town hall forum today in Akron focusing on the problems associated with underwater homes. Check out their website for more information.
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