Overflowing Shelters and the Cost

 Columbus once again struggles with overflowing shelters and people being turned away.  This is a perennial problem in the Capital City.  They never seem to get things in place during the winter.  Of all the things we complain about in Cleveland, the sheltering of people who ask for help is not something we complain about.  The City of Cleveland and especially Ruth Gillett of the County Office of Homeless Services do it right every year.  We never have the problems that other cities experience.   We don't have to fight about the temperature getting to certain point or if the temperature reading is at the airport or downtown. 

Columbus seems to have problems every year with overflow.  Every year they claim to have everything under control and every year there is a problem.  Last year, they opened an overflow for men far from downtown and then the day care center next door objected.  Now this year, they were not prepared for all the families.  Why not avoid all these issues by just offering shelter to everyone who comes to the door?  Avoid all the hassles by just figuring out a way to handle overflow in the summer when there is not the demand, and then it will be easy to fill the gaps when it matters.  This is life and death, and Columbus has been on the wrong side for years. 

Is it expensive to offer a bed to everyone who asks for help.  The county would have to provide staffing, transportation and cooperation among the agencies.  Guaranteed access to shelter saves lives and government should do whatever to save lives.  We must keep people alive while they get back on their feet or reconcile with family or conquer their demons or work through their mistrust of other people. 

Brian Davis

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