Commentary by Pete Domanovic
On Thursday January 9, 2003, the City Council held a hearing on affordable housing and ending homelessness in the city of Cleveland. Well, good luck. All the service providers needed more money to slam us into decency, and all we want is a little help. I think that half of them just realized that a lot of the homeless are not chemically dependant, or mentally ill (42%).
The question now comes, why is it that low wage earners need to go to chemical dependence classes, learn again how to fill out applications, take budgeting classes, when the only real problem would be, they don’t earn enough money? I have even been made to quit a job to learn how to fill out an application.
Is it our fault that employers don’t pay enough? They try to convince us that it is strictly our fault, and we need what they offer, and sometimes we go to hell because we have less than others. They tell us not to accept jobs that don’t pay enough, but not that only 3 of us are going to get livable wage jobs this year. We are failures because we don’t make enough. Must’ve been the extra candy bar I bought that ruined me, huh?
Food, shelter, and security. That would be the basic needs of any homeless person, or any person for that matter. When someone enters a shelter because of strictly economic reasons, that is pretty much all they are looking for. In one shelter in Cleveland, you can only stay one night. After that you have to join the program. If you do not fit the category that they get money for, you cannot stay, and you will sleep in the snow. The only compassion you will find, would be in the fundraisers voice, and they don’t talk to us.
If we counted all the money wasted on the homeless providers, you would see that every person in every shelter could be put into a moderately priced hotel for the entire year, and you would still have a surplus of cash. They have the same philosophy that they had in the 1940’s. When you’re stuck on stupid, that’s one thing, but this is intentional interference to keep alive the cash cow.
Copyright The Homeless Grapevine Issue 59, February-March 2003, Cleveland, Ohio