During campaigns for public office, you may hear one of the candidates say something to the effect of: We know what you are against. Tell me what you stand for.
At the Montco 30% Project, we strive to offer solutions and bring a positive message to the public arena. However, in light of the recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the Norristown Council president’s plans to bus people living in the encampment to Villanova University, this is an appropriate time to write about what we are against:
As a certified teacher, I am anti-bully. Taking out one’s frustrations on a population that has no other place to go while using them as pawns in a cruel political stunt is the definition of adult bullying.
We are against cursing at the news media and a Villanova University professor, as was reported in the Inquirer article.
We are against issuing tents to those who are evicted or living on the streets, only to later tell them: “You can’t sleep there in your tent.” (county service providers issue the tents)
What do we want? What are we for?
PECO and the county should offer hotel vouchers for the next 30 days to anyone experiencing homelessness at the encampment. Your Way Home and Access Services can then have an opportunity to work with them to find longer-term solutions.
Call off the "sweep."
Expand and turn the county’s Housing Trust Fund into a proactive tool for the development of affordable housing by allocating additional funds and resources through the budgeting process.
Expand the EPIC program to help stave off the next wave of evictions by offering free legal advice during evictions.
The county must move with speed and urgency to choose at least one site for a homeless shelter in the county. Ideally, it should be an existing building to avoid protracted construction. We currently have NO shelters in Montco, following last summer’s closure of the Coordinated Housing Outreach Center.
Norristown Council holds a public meeting Tuesday, June 6, at the MCIU building at 2 W. Lafayette Street, 6:30 p.m. We invite you to come and share your ideas.
Artwork credit: David Solnit