I can make no promises as to what is about to be vomited on this page or if I'll have the energy to clean it up afterwards.
I guess shock is a good word. I'm still in shock.
Last week, I and many incredibly hard working homeless people dismantled everything we created over the last 3 years. This time inside the building at 15 Broad Street.
6 months ago we were forced to dismantle the village we created. This past week we were forced to dismantle our clothing room, our food pantry, our computers. People like the Food Bank and the Health Department quickly contacted me to let me know that they will now stop allowing me to get food from the food bank or to offer Narcan classes or needle exchanges.
Because it was so hot and homeless people were no longer allowed in our building by order of the fire department, we put up tarp canopies in my backyard. The neighbors at the subsidized housing for low income seniors immediately began taking pictures. The fire inspector told me that these overhead heat shields were in fact tents and they needed to come down too. So we tore those down as well. I mean... why deny the inevitable.
For the record, they looked like this:
Oh, and we also took down the little pool Zack Milkovich donated. I'm sure that violates some sort of fire code:
If I have proven one thing I hope I have successfully shown that homeless people can only be helped in a very narrow, specific way. If you don't do it EXACTLY the way they will allow you to do it then you can't do it at all and homeless people can pound salt.
We have now shown that tents are absolutely an unacceptable way to shelter American citizens in Akron. We have been told that micro homes that many other cities are creating are called "shacks" by the administration of Akron so those will never be allowed.
We have also learned that you absolutely cannot sleep in a park or any public land. You will be given a trespassing violation. I'm working with one person who is looking at 6 months in jail because he has now gotten 2 trespassing violations for daring to sleep on public land.
We also know that if you are a private citizen that allows tents on your land you will be fined if you do not remove them immediately.
We also know that the police will chase you off if they find you sleeping in your car.
So, unless you are "lucky" enough to get a spot in one of our shelters that are all currently full for women right now you will be illegally sleeping ANYWHERE you dare close your eyes.
From a purely scientific point of view I think we've done a great job of proving that trying to sleep anywhere in Akron other than an approved shelter is absolutely, completely illegal. Even if the shelters are full or you have been kicked out or you are not in their work program and can only stay 3-5 nights per month.
So, that's an interesting contribution to the homeless condition, I guess.
It took a hell of a lot of energy from a great many supporters and homeless people to prove out that hypothesis. But at least we did that.
There was a second point that I was hoping to prove that is still not understood: Human beings, American citizens, people that have families that have lived in this country for generations are sleeping on the streets in the richest country the world has ever known.
I know that I say those words. But I don't believe people actually hear those words.
They are humans. They aren't goats or chickens or scraps of paper or tin cans or pizza boxes. They are mother fucking human beings living on the mother fucking street. DO. YOU. FEEL. ME!!??
How do we get to a place in "society" where that is acceptable?
Is it because we have righted this wrong in our heads that they are shit stains of existence? That they don't deserve anything other than what they currently are forced to endure?
We have somehow brainwashed ourselves in a massive group think that "those" people are bad and "we" are good. So, therefore, the current state of affairs makes sense and changing it is going to be complicated and drawn out. It may never be solved.
Here's the thing: Humans have very little hair. We are very vulnerable without the construct of society surrounding us. We can not survive without shelter. And we REQUIRE sleep. Sleep is not a "nice to have" human option. We REQUIRE sleep.
The fact that there is a phrase, "illegal sleeping" is madness within itself. We might as well have "illegal breathing."
I am a little disappointed I can't actually seem to wake up anyone that can actually do anything to this fact: American citizens are sleeping on the streets of the richest country in history illegally. AND THAT IS WRONG.
They need tents today, tiny homes tomorrow, communities the day after. That's the triage process that must happen. We can NOT ponder the difficulty of homelessness while people are living unsheltered on the streets. We can NOT allow perfect to be the enemy of good enough.
People that say humans shouldn't live in tents yet allow them to live unsheltered in the dirt are elitist assholes that need to wake up or get out of the way.
But that's just me. What do I know. The "housing first" people have won. Don't give these people anything until we can build them a proper house. It's infuriating. But I'm somehow the asshole know-nothing.
So, tl;dr In Akron Ohio it's illegal to sleep anywhere that isn't a government-approved dwelling that meets every single housing code and housing inspection.
I'm a slow learner. So it's not uncommon for me to take years to understand things the rest of the world just understands.
But hopefully, I've proven that law of society: In Akron Ohio it's illegal to sleep anywhere that isn't a government-approved dwelling that meets every single housing code and housing inspection.
I didn't realize I was creating a scientific experiment that proves bureaucracy is more important than your grandmother sleeping unsheltered on the street. But it is what it is.
I am not pleased with God right now. I've had some harsh words for our lord and savior the last few days. But we don't need to get into that.
The fact of the matter is, I have never been on a more clear path in my life. It's not the path of my choosing. But it is my path, just the same.
15 Broad Street must go away. We must all let it die. It is meant to die. It has to die.
It served its purpose and it is done.
15 Broad Street in Akron Ohio proved out everything I discussed above. And for that we should be forever grateful for what it gave us. But that does not mean we need to idolize it or protect it or try to encapsulate it.
I'm telling you: God wants us to leave that building and land. Society can decide what to do with it. That's not our problem.
Our problem is dealing with homelessness in America.
We cannot get sentimental or worry about irrelevant things.
Through God we have learned something that is far greater than what we have proven out legally.
We have learned that community is the salvation of us all.
Relationships will solve homelessness.
Houses will not solve homelessness. Community will solve homelessness.
You will never be able to get anyone in the government to begin to even slightly grasp what we have learned at our core. The government will never solve homelessness because the government doesn't understand any of the people it governs. It doesn't care about the people. It just cares about the infrastructure and making more money.
This is what we must do as citizens: We must continue to build communities.
"You are loved," must be our mantra. That's how we end homelessness. And quite frankly, that's how we solve all our problems in America and the world.
Community has been decimated in America since the industrial revolution. That's why we have systemic hopelessness and generational poverty. We are all living on our own isolated life rafts with an "every man for himself" mentality.
We must look for the communities. We must build the communities.
Communities do not need a building. They just need people.
What happens next is what I'm calling "The Homeless Underground."
We have learned, as I've repeatedly said above, that we cannot shelter people in any way other than a government approved dwelling.
The problem with that is that there are still people living on the street.
We cannot stop helping these people. But we must do this much more covertly and secretively.
Camps must stay hidden as much as possible. Neighbors turn in homeless people like they are some sort of enemy of the state.
I believe we need to keep camps very small. And we have to keep traffic to these camps at a minimum.
We also have to accept the fact that we will continually need to move homeless people around.
Fortunately, they haven't forced homeless people to move into detainment camps like we've done with other hated groups of people. But don't put it past them. They can do whatever they want.
We have to hide the homeless. There is absolutely nowhere that is safe for them in Akron Ohio. There is a very clear war on the homeless happening right now. It is undeniable. It is cruel and it is relentless.
If you ever look back in history and think how you would have wanted to be one of the people that helped hide Jews in Nazi Germany or hide slaves on the underground railroad: NOW IS YOUR CHANCE.
Homeless people are the slaves and Jews of America in the 21st Century. They are hated. They are seen as nothing other than a disease in society that must be eradicated.
They need the help and protection of people with resources. They need your help.
This is my path forward. This is the path forward for The Homeless Charity.
We cannot stop. We cannot relent. We cannot allow the forces of evil to triumph. We are on the side of justice, humanity and God. They are on the side of hate.
This is a holy war if there ever was one.
I'm not stopping. I'm asking you to not stop.