Special Submission from the Homeless Congress
The Homeless Congress has voted to take a stand opposed to the proposed curfew for Public Square. We believe that this policy raises many questions that need to be answered:
Where do those who cannot or will not use the shelters live? Homeless people were recently kicked out of the Convention Center, Brown’s Stadium, and the airport and now they’re being told not to stay in Public Square. Where do they go?
Why are there no alternatives? If the City wants to address homeless people, they need to provide homeless people who refuse shelters with an alternative place to stay. The City should provide funding for the proposed Evening Engagement Center or 24 hour drop-in center to allow homeless people a place to exist inside and not be arrested.
What about all the problems with young people attacking homeless people? Many feel that the lights and the activity on Public Square make it a safe place to sleep. The City needs to spend more resources on protecting the safety of homeless people from attackers instead of making it illegal to be homeless.
Why do so many people choose not to use the shelters? Many homeless people fall through the cracks in the behavioral health systems, and this forces people to sleep on the street. The City needs to spend more time on reviewing prevention strategies instead of on criminalization efforts.
We, the members of the Homeless Congress are tired of homeless people being moved all over the City. We want city leaders to address the root causes of homelessness and develop some real solutions to homelessness.
Copyright Homeless Grapevine, Cleveland Ohio Issue 82 October 2007