Friday, March 09, 2007

We can make changes. Here is something from my recent activities in January I started a process. Here is a page of minutes from the Dover Human Relations Commission. We are currently getting a united front of community organizations formed so we can do a need assessment and get the resources needed to meet those needs.
For other community reactions click. http://www.newszapforums.com/forum4/24523.html

Comments from Members of Community: Commissioner Hoff allowed three minutes time for members of the public to state their interest or concern.

Commissioner Hoff received a letter from David Anderson addressed to the Commission requesting the opportunity to come forward to address the Commission on the issue of homelessness in Kent County.

David Anderson addressed the Commission by thanking the Commission for making the community a better place. Mr. Anderson’s proposal is to aid in betterment of the community. He stated the problem in particular is that Kent County has a problem with transitional housing. At the County level it is suggested: 1) get people together, 2) to assess the need, 3) and to find out what programs are going on. With some good going on, Kent County is experiencing severe cutbacks. A program that addresses the need for help paying utility bills is needed. He portrayed an example that if an individual is earning $7-$8 an hour and is faced with a layoff or divorce or illness, their life becomes in danger. Money for grants is needed for transitioning, i.e., help with an electric bill when keeping their housing is in danger. Mr. Anderson talks to people and everything seems to be on a dollar symbol. The Commission could serve as a point to gather people and compile an assessment to DHRC Mtg. MinutesJanuary 31, 2007Page 2 improve the standard of living. He requested that the Commission highlight the problem. Mr. Anderson composed a “Letter to the Editor” putting the issues of homelessness on the radar screen, and there was an outpouring of public response from about 100 individuals. Mr. Anderson further states that when people are alerted, they are interested. So far homelessness has been a silent issue. He feels that someone needs to take leadership and bring awareness and find a solution. He wants to define the problem and present the problem to the Joint Finance Committee. Furthermore, Mr. Anderson states that shelters are being lost and that homelessness is on the street, leading to the deterioration of the city. In conclusion, he feels that homelessness is the core of it. Commission Chair Hoff thanked David Anderson for his input.

Further public comment included: Speaker #1: He stated that he is a 46 year old recovering addict and a graduate of the House of Pride. He is presently working. Before he entered the House of Pride, he felt like leaving this world. He was raised by his mother with his father being absent from the home. He had become homeless. People were turning their back to him. He asked the state for help. He entered the House of Pride where he gained spirituality, set goals and learned how to live again. He stated that the House of Pride is a non-profit entity and asked for anyway possible to lend a hand. All he had known were the streets. He has attended the Mt. Zion church where Commissioner Johnson presides. The speaker noted that he doesn’t want to give up and that now he can live and leave the past being. He has led a rough life that included drink, drugs, stealing and that now he has turned his life around with no help except for the House of Pride. He is holding on and that’s all he has left.

Speaker #2: He stated that little resources are available and that state government needs to intercede with in-patient programs for substance abuse and asked that grants from the state be made available. He feels that with in-treatment there would be less crime. He states that “Gateway” in Delaware City has a two month wait. He lives on the streets and has to call Gateway every morning for help. He further reiterated a need for inpatient drug abuse treatment programs. He has been a heroin addict for 10 years and has seen problems like this in other states such as Maryland. In his opinion, Maryland has a good network but 90% of the crimes there are from drugs. He stated that only two facilities are available to him, the House of Pride and Gateway. He is requesting intervention for people who want and need help and said it is very hard to get into programs. He feels that the state should look into inpatient clinics for Delaware to be located in Sussex County, Wilmington and Dover. Commission Chair Hoff thanked the speaker for coming forward.

Speaker #3: He had come out of Baltimore City with a drug habit. He turned his life around at the House of Pride. He is learning to help deal with people that are homeless. He added there is no space available. When the facility is filled to capacity it is hurtful to turn people away. The homeless population needs help when there is nowhere to go. They need help to get space to help get people off the street. The House of Pride is volunteer run. Help is needed for the facility to run. There is no facility for women. The House of Pride only accepts men. There is only so much he feels can be done.

Speaker #4: He lives at the House of Pride. He is a college grad having attended grad school and earned his doctorate. He is doing very well. He was struck with dystrophy and has become depressed and despondent. He also is bi-polar. His life took a nose dive. A drug problem caused a loss of everything. He stated that homeless people are not bad people. For one reason or another they have lost everything. He states that it is easy to fall to the bottom of the social strata. It is difficult to pull out of this. Drug or alcohol or gambling or a run of bad luck or bad choices and one may be stuck on the bottom for the rest of their life. Personally he has been in the House of Pride program for one year and is facing many obstacles to see his way out.

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