A group of advocates for the homeless and homeless people themselves met today with Mayor Mark Stodola and City Manager Bruce Moore. The session include a bit of street theater -- an advocate impersonated a homeless person to demonstrate how the homeless are stereotyped.
(I hope she aggressively and persistently shook down the city officials for money to portray the reality of encounters with the growing homeless population in our neighborhood.)
A report on the meeting from Robert Johnston is on the jump.
E-MAIL FROM ROBERT JOHNSTON
The Mayor and the Manager listened fairly patiently for about 35 minutes to 10 or so homeless talk about difficulty of finding jobs [particularly for ex-cons], police harassment, the needs for washers, dryers, showers, lockers, rest rooms etc. I thanked them for coming, for the cooling centers and bus tokens, the Breakfast Trailer and urged them to take the next step – the Day Resource Center promised for July in the 10- year plan of last December.
The Mayor’s response included:
1. What we have done in the last 18 months indicates we care and we hear. We are making some progress on the day resource center and will announce something soon.
2. ‘as I have said before, we can’t wait 10 years to do some important things’
The Manager said ‘we hear you but we need some things from you’:
1. No aggressive panhandling
2. Pick up trash/ litter under the Bridge
3. Want a job – come see me in City Hall/ take care of outstanding warrants first.
4. Rest rooms availability posted on Breakfast Trailer
Good news – Mayor and Manager came, heard, responded.
Bad news – no newspaper coverage despite my notifying both DemGaz and AR Times; no specific promises from City .