consultants are sandburs

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Young and homeless in Anoka? Suck it up, bucko, and live with it - until there develops "a better sense of what's reasonable." To your mind, is delay or denial this time of year at all "reasonabe?" Or just plain Scrooge-like petty obfuscation?

PiPress, online here, this excerpt:

Anoka: Proposed homeless shelter for young adults meets resistance from city
By Sarah Horner
Posted: 12/25/2013 12:01:00 AM CST
Updated: 12/25/2013 09:10:03 PM CST

Concerned it doesn't have the infrastructure to support more homeless shelters, Anoka is pressing the pause button on the facilities.

After receiving a request from a local nonprofit to open a shelter for young homeless adults, the Anoka City Council recently imposed a moratorium on the addition of new shelters until it can get a better sense of what's "reasonable," according to Mayor Phil Rice.

With a 60-bed adult shelter available in town, Rice said, Anoka already is doing more than most of its neighbors to help people without a safe place to sleep. Adding more beds, Rice said, could burden his community of 17,000.

[...] "I have no problem with a moratorium to make sure all the ducks are in a row," said Karrie Schaaf, a board member of Hope4Youth, the nonprofit spearheading the shelter project. "But to hear the mayor come out and say there are already enough shelter beds in this community ... that scares me, because it's just so wrong."

After opening a drop-in center for homeless youth in March, Hope4Youth now wants to add up to 10 beds to give 18- to 23-year-olds a safe place to sleep, Schaaf said.

[...] The number of homeless 18- to 21-year-olds in Anoka County jumped from 54 in 2009 to 150 last year, according to the county's annual homeless count. Meanwhile, the total number of homeless people in Anoka County rose from 1,004 in 2009 to 1,463 last year.

The only standard shelter available countywide is Stepping Stone Emergency Housing in Anoka, a nonprofit that offers 60 beds to adult men and women, according to Karen Skepper, Anoka County's director of community and governmental relations.

Stepping Stone said the shelter has a 100-plus person waitlist.

The only other options include a group of local churches that together host families on a rotating basis and Alexandra House in Blaine, a domestic-violence shelter that offers extra accommodations to women and children.

Already the provider of the most beds in the county, Anoka's mayor says it doesn't make sense for the city to take on more.

"Having a high concentration of people who are homeless in your community, for one thing, they are looking for jobs, they need adequate transportation, they need other kinds of support. ... Usually, if you are going to have success helping them, you have to spread out services," Rice said. "One community takes some, another some more."

Scrooge needs a few more ghosts of charity and good will to haunt a bit, metrowide, yes/no?

Quite a few at a guess. And in multiple locales. Scrooge seems metrowide in reach. County-wide?

UPDATE: Links of interest: here linking here, also here and here (a link from this general site with Blaine listed, Andover and Ramsey not listed).

___________FURTHER UPDATE____________
Strib on same topic, here. An excerpt:

The issue flared when a fledgling drop-in center, HOPE 4 Youth, proposed adding sleeping quarters at its site in the Milk Factory building, near the city’s Northstar commuter rail station.

“We went to the city with this idea because there was space available in our building and because we were struggling to find a place for youth that were sleeping outside,” HOPE 4 Youth co-founder Brian Swanson told the City Council in mid-December.

At the packed meeting, the council — noting that Anoka already has a 60-bed homeless shelter — passed a moratorium for up to a year on new overnight shelters while it studies the matter and sets standards if more facilities are allowed.

Mayor Phil Rice noted that, in the past five years, Anoka has increased the number of temporary beds for homeless adults from 16 to 60. He said that the city is doing more than its share and that other communities need to start offering homeless housing.

Swanson said later that he had spoken to Rice and appreciated city concerns, including that a shelter in the Milk Factory might not fit city plans to develop a business and residential community around the Northstar station. “I concluded it is not a good use of our resources to try and fight this. The city has valid points,” he said.

[...] Anoka County has only two homeless housing programs: Stepping Stone Emergency Housing in Anoka, with the 60 beds, and Family of Promise, which houses four or five families for up to 90 days in 14 churches, said Karrie Schaaf, a homeless-liaison worker for the Anoka-Hennepin School District. She said the district currently has 537 homeless students in all grades, including 105 older students living without a parent or guardian.

[...] State Rep. Jim Abeler, who owns the Milk Factory, said he had offered HOPE very low rent for shelter space because he believes in their program. He said HOPE is dealing with people under 24 who are young enough to make positive life changes.

Homelessness is not an easy issue, but the most affluent nation on earth showing too much indifference is not a good thing. Abeler, Swanson and others seem to be on the right track in offering overnight shelter. The problem will grow rather than go away or work itself out absent well-intentioned reaching out. The Milk Factory has a look of being a historic part of a community, and a hope is that preservation is part of Anoka planning around its commuter rail stop. It is Abeler's building, and in-County property rights advocates might consider taking up his cause to use it in a way he sees fit. Otherwise a double standard set of manners might be perceived among such community members.

Certainly private sector charitable work can be praised, but government has responsibilities that go beyond building commuter rail stops and ramps and subsidizing "market rate" Flaherty stuff. Mayor Rice is correct to a degree in saying Anoka is doing something and its NIMBY reflex, as shown, seems less than in other county towns.

Government has the primary responsibility for providing for the welfare of disadvantaged and impoverished community members. Surely they have responsibility for their own well being, yet nobody chooses to be broke and homeless and vulnerable to indignity. Denial of government's duty or claiming it to be secondary to charity between people and groups outside of government is simply false dissembling. False dissembling that does not reflect well on advocates of such a belief. Saying I got mine over time and it was not easy, is easy woofing out of those who have one way or another gotten theirs and grown a hard indifference to others whose luck and work proved less successful.

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