Let’s take a look at the leadership on homeless issues in our county:
PUSH attends a sheriff’s presentation advertised as a discussion of homeless veterans. Aside from estimating 30% or more inmates are veterans of our armed services, Sheriff Shoar had absolutely nothing concrete to offer them upon release but got a real kick out of passing out t shirts advocating military sniping of civilians. Some leader. Ever hear of the Patriot Act?
PUSH requests a copy of the SJC 10 year plan for almost three weeks until a document, written in May 2007, surfaces as THE PLAN. After comparing to other counties’ plans across the nation it is clear that SJC’s document is not a plan. Despite discussions with county officials, state representative, state senators in Tallahassee and numerous other civic groups, no one seems concerned about this although hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars are funneled through the lead agency, apparently with little or no oversight until recently. Jerry Cameron could not name the oversight person for ESHC funding. State representative Bill Proctor has cancelled and not rescheduled a follow up meeting despite several calls to his local office. Some leaders. Ever hear of representative democracy?
PUSH attempted to meet with Dr Colavito for almost 2 weeks until a complaint to Jerry Cameron prompted a meeting to obtain billing records for county funding of agencies on the continuum of care. Some administration. Ever hear of open government?
PUSH attended The Marketplace luncheon to connect with the leader, Ken Asplund, to leave contact information. expecting a response since their website claims as part of their mission:
We exist as a group of Intercessors who have committed to being available to God for the salvation of the lost and the immediate needs of others. We have heard nothing. Some Christians. Ever hear of the Beatitudes?
PUSH has called EPIC, local substance abuse provider, numerous times to offer mentoring assistance and has never been called back. Some provider. Ever hear of community involvement?
PUSH volunteer gets “fired” from volunteering at the transitional housing component at the Emergency Services Homeless Coalition for seeking answers to concerns of waste and fraud from the state contract manager. Other former workers at ESHC are unwilling to tell what they know and have simply left to do good work elsewhere. Some management. Ever hear of accountability?
PUSH attempts for 6 months to discover plans for moving St Francis House, the only temporary shelter in the county with a grand total of 28 beds, only to be shut out of any planning or discussion. Some open government. Ever hear of stakeholders?
PUSH attempts to find out where and when ESHC board meetings are conducted and is told the meetings are private but PUSH can request time for a presentation to the board. Some sunshine state. Ever hear of inclusiveness?
PUSH attempts to find out where an advertised meeting of local leaders with a nationally known homeless “czar” is speaking only to learn it was limited to a small group at an undisclosed location and was ending in fifteen minutes. Some posturing. Ever hear of honesty?
PUSH attempts to reach out to area churches with a viable and proven solution to helping homeless people get back on their feet and link up with services that would be cost free to taxpayers yet allow church members to personally work with homeless families and share that responsibility for a limited time with other faith based organizations. No churches have committed despite numerous presentations and calls. Some outreach. Ever hear of compassion?
PUSH presented two well researched and effective programs to help veterans who are struggling with mental health issues and who may also be homeless and desperate to the Veterans Council. At the end of the ten minute presentation, two members attack the presenter for his connection to an anti war group and accuse him of bringing politics to the discussion. In fact, the opposite was true and the members were allowing their politics to impede any real discussion of solutions for our veterans. The irony was lost on them. There was no support offered for the programs proposed but plenty of discussion on fundraising to put flags in county classrooms. Some patriotism. Ever hear about priorities?
PUSH sends out a draft copy of the status of homeless advocacy demanding accountability and inclusiveness to all city, county commissioners, numerous media outlets and providers on the county “continuum of care” and gets slammed for trying to have an open discussion about the new shelter with “the public”, since it “will cause problems.”. Some democracy. Ever hear about power of the people?
So let’s recap:
No help from any level of government on accountability and oversight.
No help from any provider, agency, church on proven solutions to homelessness.
No help from established group of Christian business and community leaders on collaborative solutions.
No help from veterans council for veterans in trouble.
No help from law enforcement on incarcerated veterans.
We’re on our own. After 18 months of working the system, we are on our own. We’re only sorry it’s taken this long to get it.