What should I be doing instead of this?
May 6th, 2009 By | News | Posted In: Social Justice, Public Policy, Government, City Council

Homeless Means Worthless


During an election year, city council and the mayor member profess to care about the most vulnerable in our society, but their actions are speaking much louder than words. Mayor Mark Mallory allowed a city budget proposal to go forward that would have eliminated all human services funding and the meager investment was only restored after groups like the YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter and the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless organized strong and vocal opposition and the money was restored.

As a reward for their effort to hold their elected officials accountable for their short-sighted view of what’s best for the city, council members are now leading a march to eliminate the city funding of local homeless programs.

Work is being completed to fix the problems found in the process used to allocate city funding to Human Services,” says a press release from Josh Spring, director of the coalition. “These problems nearly resulted in close to a $700,000 cut to Human Services a month ago. In the midst of this work, council-members Chris Bortz and David Crowley have put forth a motion that, if passed, would remove both ‘Emergency Services and Homeless Services’ as well as ‘Services to Persons with Disabilities’ from the current list of priorities used to determine what Human Services received city funding.”

If adequate funding were going to come from some other place, this would make sense. But as it stands now, the funding provided isn’t enough to address the growing needs and there is no replacement – only the scapegoat of federal stimulus money.

“This funding … comes from the Federal Government and the city is required to pass it through for homelessness,” Spring says. “This money does not come from the city and shows no city investment. In addition, many of these funds are only available for a limited amount of time. In reality removing homelessness from the city’s funding priorities would result in many significant cuts for our local agencies and our local people.”

While praising the federal government for giving much needed aid to cities, our elected officials are using the opportunity to shirk their responsibilities as leaders of this community.

Those campaign promises made so long ago about being stewards with the best interests of the city and all citizens as their top priority are being dusted off for yet another election campaign. Comparing actions to rhetoric will be essential before entering the voting booth this fall.

Until then, make your voice heard at a special meeting of the Health, Environment & Education Committee this week, May 7 at 12 p.m.

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