Oldtimer’s comment, added on the 25th: I warned the Mayor on the 21st, he called me on the 22d, I posted this article on the 23d, and today I found out that Dominic, a homeless friend was found frozen to death huddled behind a local business on the 22d. It means the Mayor likely already knew about the death when he said NO! to the moritorium and delay until warmer weather. Now read the whole story and my warnings. I predict we will find homeless people dead in various hiding places until spring. Our Mayor and his Council are directly responsible for not heeding the numerous warnings from the community! They cut up their tents, put their sleeping bags and clothing in garbage trucks and sent them into 19 degree weather to die. The remainder is from Jan 23, 2008:
The Mayor of the City That Doesn’t Care (aka Marietta, Georgia) called me yesterday. Make no mistake our Mayor does care and cares deeply! We had a long and good discussion and he gave me full permission to report what he has said and he said all the right things. He is sympathetic to the problem and supportive of our mission to help the homeless, including those that are being evicted from the meager existence they call home, whether cardboard box, blue tarp, or simply a sleeping bag under a bush.
He expressed appreciation for what we and and our mission team are doing and called it “good ministry”.
The gist of it all, however, is that the unhoused homeless people have to be out by Wednesday (today) and there will be no exceptions and no delays due to the weather.
He assured me that the city does not have any access to helicopters and no money to rent one if we did. That a helicopter was going to be used to hunt down the homeless was just a rumor that developed among the homeless after a meeting of a police commander with the nearby MUST ministries. MUST has been hosting some 75 residents and feeding the unhoused a meal each weekday. (The homeless were not invited to the meeting, but thought they were.) The city also met with the “Mad Housers” which is a group of saints that build simple structures for the homeless. The city is graciously allowing the Mad Housers to leave the structures in place until they have time to move them.
Essentially the Mayor said that all homeless camping in Marietta will be sent packing and if they don’t go they will be immediately arrested.
It was my understanding that all homeless camped on private property that have the permission of the property owner can stay, but the health department will be called to determine if there are suitable sanitary facilities, and whether the campsite is safely habitable. If not, they will be ordered out and arrested if they refuse the order.
He suggested that some private property owners might allow them to camp, but the health department will be required to check out the property. The Mayor seems sympathetic but admitted he has had to call the police in the past about his own property (warehouse nearby) due to homeless camping behind it resulting in concern and complaints from female staff entering and leaving the building.
How it started: The Mayor said that the problem started with a series of burglaries that were traced to a homeless person. They had his picture and went to all the camps to find him, but he had absconded, already left town for parts unknown.
However the camps on right of ways and on public and private property which they found in the heat of the hunt are illegal and the City can’t NOT enforce the law, and now that the police know where they are, they must be removed, period, no matter the consequences. End of story.
OK, herein lies a problem for my sensibilities.
If a law that must be enforced will bring about, or is likely to bring about. or may bring about serious harm or death of an individual, should that law not be swiftly amended or not enforced when those situations arise? Continue reading