By Brian Davis
A quick glance at the new quarters shows an impressive new face along with a commemoration of the 50 states on the back. But a careful look shows a symbolic reduction in “Liberty.” That’s right, the word “Liberty” has been significantly reduced. This can be directly attributed to the reduction in our won personal liberty that we now face in the Untied States from random drug tests to police officers who act with impunity to harass and intimidate its citizenry. And so now we have formalized that relationship by reducing liberty on the new quarter.
On the other hand, the displacement of the large word “Liberty” on the new quarter with the words creasing nationalism that we see in this country. From the increasing vigilance of the border to protect against so-called illegal immigrants to the U.S. position as world military dictator, America is beginning to formalize its empire, and so we proudly display or maybe it just looks better.
A plan was put in place in response to the congregation at St Peter’s concerns about the number of homeless people on their doorstep. You may remember that St Peter’s put up a fence and some lovely gardens to keep homeless people away from their door. They were widely criticized as following a very unchristian approach to homelessness.
Cuyahoga County, the City of Cleveland, and staff at Catholic Charities formulated a more reasonable response to the growing number of homeless people in the evening around the church. They put together six months worth of funding to keep the Bishop Cosgrove meal site open until 8:30 p.m. when the Project Heat overflow shelters open. This would allow homeless people, especially men, to stay inside and wait for the shelters to open. They would have access to bathrooms and a dinner inside. They would prevent the trash, urine, and other debris from collecting on the church grounds. It is a humane approach to dealing with this horrible situation and certainly one that the Catholic Church, a traditional friend of the poor, would embrace.
Some unknown force in the city has blocked this plan. This Darth Vader of homeless services remains unnamed. This entry has forced Catholic Charities to “put this project on the shelf for now.” So lets go over this again. This County developed and wrote the contract for this expansion of service. The City provided this money. Councilman Joe Cimperman, who represents the area around the church, continues to push for the project. And Catholic Charities staff came up with the plan to expand one of their services. So where does the opposition come from to extend the hours of the Cosgrove Center?
St. Peter’s parish council continues to deny that they had anything to do with the project being shelved. Eventually the story will come out. I only hope that this story will come out before the real St. Peter has to sort this out in front of his gates. You know, the gates that do not discriminate on the basis of the housing status.
Living in a shelter is already too much like living in a jail, who decided that a shelter would be located in the proposed jail? The County Commissioners are forwarding a proposal to build a large jail, social service mall and a shelter for homeless people on E. 55th St. The Councilwoman for Ward 7 is supportive of this plan, but the Mayor and Councilman Joe Cimperman are apposed to the idea, because the neighbors were not consulted. Well, homeless people were not consulted about this matter either.
It seems that the Commissioners are trying to solve all their problems with one huge war so that they do not have to keep fighting these small battles against NIBYism. Hey, they could locate a methadone clinic, needle exchange, treatment facility, and group home for the mentally ill in the social service wing of the warehouse. Throw in some gypsies and one of outcast religions du jour, and got yourself a concentration camp.
Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue 34 April-May 1999