I was just asked this question on Nextdoor. And so I thought I would paste my answer here. I rail hard against pretty much every form of authority. That's simply because with great power comes great responsibility. Everyone in power needs to do better. The Haven of Rest is no exception.
That said, I am much more of a reformer than I am an anarchist. Maybe it's because I am older now. But I just don't see the point of burning everything down just to rebuild it into probably something that's not much different than what currently exists.
From the KKK to the Catholic Church, I believe in reform. And if you think the KKK is worse than the Catholic Church you have not been paying attention for the last 2,000 years.
The same goes with all of these congregate homeless shelters in the world. They are all run like jails and many of them force you to go to church multiple times a day. There could be nothing more anti-American and unconstitutional than a homeless shelter. But since no one really cares in authority about homeless people they just all let it slide.
If we really want to solve homelessness we must stop having a one-size-fits-all solution for a very diverse group of people that we all lump into one word called "homeless".
Housing First is not going to work because there is simply not enough housing. It's a pipe dream. It is not going to happen. Get over it.
That's not to say that we can't reform Housing First. We just have to be honest about the expectations of how much housing there truly is in America to house all the extremely low-income people that live here.
Akron Ohio is giving out all of these vouchers for section 8 housing. But no one's taking them. So they are just expiring.
We need innovation and creativity and diversity in how we think about all of our problems in the world. Homelessness is no exception.
But I digress. Back to the question at hand. Why do people not stay at the homeless shelter in Akron Ohio? Why do people not stay at the Haven of Rest? Here are a few reasons.
There are a variety of reasons a person might not stay at the Haven. But let's start with the one reason it's not: drugs.
Grace Park is drug central and is right across the street from the Haven. You can easily smoke or inject your drug of choice over there and be back in plenty of time for dinner. Drinking is much easier to detect. But if Haven drug tested their clients they'd be mostly empty.
Then there are people who have been banned from the Haven. They have MANY rules. I have friends who have been banned because they wore shorts and because they missed a church service.
Then there are people who have social anxiety and can't handle the congregate setting.
There are people that can't handle the group showers and doorless bathroom stalls.
And there are people who feel likes it's too much like prison.
So there are a lot of reasons.
The question isn't why aren't people staying at the Haven of Rest. The question we have to ask is why do we only have one option for sheltering homeless men in Akron Ohio when there are private citizens willing to do the work in new and innovative ways with private money?
The question, of course, is rhetorical. The answer is because there have always been people in society that society hates. Native Americans, African-Americans, Jews, LGBTQIA, old people, mentally disabled people, physically disabled people. And of course, homeless people (particularly homeless men). Nothing has changed in society. Homeless people just happened to be the people society currently hates, and as always hated, but now they've pitched a tent on the sidewalk and we are forced to stare our bigotry in the face. It makes civilized people feel icky.