Sunday, November 09, 2003Ann Arbor's new $6.7 Million homeless shelter is scheduled to open November 19, replacing the city's three existing shelters, although not offering any more space, lest the city become a "magnet for the homeless.":
" ... As the opening date nears, concerns still linger over whether the new, state-of-the-art facility - with its sophisticated commercial kitchen, library, medical clinic, job services, computer rooms and a $1.3 million annual budget - will make Ann Arbor a magnet for the homeless.
But shelter officials said they don't expect that to happen.
For one thing, the new shelter offers no more beds than are already available in the county - 35 for men, 15 for women. Second, officials said, the shelter itself is not the draw. ... "
> AANews: "New shelter readies for homeless"
Yes, bourgeois liberalism hasn't moved much beyond the patronizing "settlement houses" for the deserving poor of the turn of the century. Clearly, the existing city shelters aren't large enough to serve the existing homeless community, so deciding to spend $6.7 million on a new shelter that isn't any larger simply says it doesn't bother any public officials that some of the city's residents sleep in parking structures, under bridges, and invariably a few die of the cold each year. However, it could also be a simple matter of funding. The city was forced to become a partner in the project in order to allow the construction of the shelter: it was constructed and will be run by the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County. Since the plan violated the neighborhood's zoning restrictions and the local neighborhood association was in full NIMBY mode, the city was forced to became a partner in the project because they are able to construct buildings in violation of zoning laws with approval of the city council. Yes, this is another side of Ann Arbor "liberalism": help for the homeless should come through private charity only. We sure wouldn't want any free handouts corrupting their Work Ethic! (Although the Shelter Association is quick to point out 60% of the people they help have jobs)
Posted by Rob at 10:56 AM