Eleven degrees is cold! In fact it was so cold the car still hadn't warmed up even though I had already hit the highway. The steering wheel still felt cold, and the fabric on the seats. Eleven degrees is COLD!!
So now the commute is done and I'm inside a warm building. I take a moment to check my email and take a look at www.fallriverblog.com to see what's new in the local blogosphere. So I'm reading Shamrock's New Year Eve observations on Fall River-tastic when this section got me thinking..
"And finally.....Correia said he was cancelling First Night because of the
hungry and homeless in Fall River. Did the hungry and homeless ever get the
$30,000 that is usually used for First Night? "
Now, I'm thinking 'gee it's 11 degrees outside, what are we doing about the homeless in our city?'
Back in November the Herald ran an article that said that basically said the city's agencies could be overtaxed if there were an increase in need. The article basically said that at that time there were enough beds to accommodate all of Fall River's homeless but that that could change depending on what a worsening economy brought. How would the city respond? Even Nick Christ, co-chairman of the Mayor’s Task Force to End Chronic Homelessness offered no answers.
"Christ, Dion, Jenkinson and Camara all said financial pressures mean they don’t
know what the city’s response would be to even a 30-person increase in the
The problem is things have gotten worse! In December one of the city's shelters was calling for donations because of an increase in demand for their services.
Eleven degrees is awfully cold.
What is the city doing? Where is the leadership? I'm not finger pointing. Maybe the city is doing something but if so I haven't heard about it. Homeless people are not just out of work bums or druggies or drunks. In these hard economic times, the homeless are also families that have lost their homes because they couldn't pay the mortgage or make the rent. They're senior citizens on fixed incomes that can no longer afford skyrocketing rents. They're people that for whatever reason have no place to go and we really have no idea how extensive the homeless issue is in our area. You can only count the people who have sought out shelter not the ones who don't. With the weather now brutally cold how many more will seek warmth and shelter?
What are we doing to help the homeless in our city?
We have over a dozen empty school buildings that we HAVE to heat. Do we have a plan to use ONE as an emergency shelter? Where can we get donated cots? Where can we get some essential supplies? How many people would we need to staff on an emergency basis?
Task forces are great but they don't keep people warm! Have we taken any action?