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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Urban Grown Regime Denies Homeless Problem

Allentown's Official City Bird
In typical King Edwin fashion, the urban growth regime known as Allentown has solved the City's homeless problem by denying it exists, so they don't have to do anything. Kinda' like the nonexistent crime problem.The City sticks its head in the sand so often, its mascot should be an ostrich.

""The idea is not just to get people out of the cold," states the memo prepared by Francis Dougherty. Actually, that's precisely the idea.It's what they call an emergency.

In addition to denial, the City likes to vilify critics. In his memo, Dougherty misrepresents homeless advocates like Diane Teti as a "competing interest group" with no rules or regulations.

Because of its dearth of rules, the City memo oozes scorn for a shelter at St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, served by Rev. Richard Baumann. Blogger Michael Molovinsky provides this description:
"Baumann and St. Paul's have only reluctantly joined the homeless business. It's not a $3.5 million dollar enterprise like the Rescue Mission. It's not a CDBG $185,000 funded Commission which pays for the salary for a couple city employees. It's a man, a church floor and a shoestring budget. This is what the City refers to as a competing interest? Diane Teti once said that nobody owns the homeless, but apparently the City thinks that it does."
According to the City, the Allentown Rescue Mission has space available. That's because they won't take anyone who is unwilling to drink their religious kool-aid. Whether it's accepting Jesus or Allah, no human being should be deprived of shelter on the basis of religious conviction, or unwillingness to form one

According to Teti, the Rescue Mission only has a capacity of 40 (men only), while Safe Haven has had higher numbers. The City memo also fails to recognize that a different approach is necessary during emergencies, when temperatures dip below freezing.

"None of us is as smart as all of us," noted another Allentown activist, Rich Fegley. He envisions a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. But that's not Allentown. It's an urban growth regime that exists for the likes of developers J.B Reilly and Joe Topper. If a few people freeze, that's a shame, but it's more state tax dollars for their office buildings instead of some poor person.


Chris said...

Allentown administration (that is, Ed Pawlowski through City Manager Francis X. Daugherty and others) say that people are coming to Safe Haven from out of town (other LEHIGH VALLEY municipalities) because Safe Haven has no rules. Two lies there: 1) Safe Haven has rules (but is, of course, imperfect, and that is what we've been saying) and 2) people are coming to Safe Haven because other municipalities don't have enough beds, either. That's always been the case. And now, a simply truth: there's no such thing as "other peoples' homeless." The homeless have no address. They only have us. As far as some are concerned, they're phantoms. If only they were the hockey-playing kind. Gives a whole new meaning to "Lehigh Valley Phantoms," doesn't it? "Give Allentown your hockey fans; keep your homeless!" "We have a home for Phantoms hockey, just not for phantom people."

Rich Fegley said...

Here is a comment that Diane Teti posted earlier tonight. I hope this helps others understand who/what GRAND is.


From Diane Teti as posted on The Morning Call website:

lehighdi at 11:15 PM January 21, 2014

We are an "official" advocacy group - GRAND, the Grass Roots Alliance for Neighborhood Development, a PA non-profit with a mission of advocacy for the homeless, among other things.


Our members are part of the Commission to End Chronic Homelessness and its various subcommittees including the Intervention B and Seasonal Sheltering Subcommittees (one member chairs the later and is Allentown's 100k Homes representative).

We absolutely do NOT support "unregulated environments" and to the contrary, want the City to FIX the problem that is Safe Haven. We do NOT want the homeless to self-manage themselves and are BEGGING for help for the up to 48 people that have been at Safe Haven in any one given night where capacity is 23. If they are so certain that there are adequate beds, then I welcome them to close Safe Haven which opened 4 years ago because 4 residents died on the streets - with no action by the City.

Our group has assisted 2 elderly men in the last week in going to the Rescue Mission AND referring them to the Office of Aging for services and took another to the hospital tonight.

Someone has to engage this population at Safe Haven and rather than just condemn the messenger, perhaps the City could step in and assist with the problem of the overcrowding at this shelter which is the message we are trying to send.


Inform yourselves. Ask questions. Post your questions or concerns on this blog, Michael Molovinsky's blog, other Lehigh Valley blogs or Facebook. We want to clarify this situation to the public.

Rich Fegley

Clinton Oxford said...

The sad part of all this is that some law abiding homeless people feel their survival depend upon committing crime so they may be incarcerated to be provided a warm enviroment and food.

How many homeless live outdoors, in the bitter cold, in the Lehigh Valley, while WE debate the the Uglyness of their existence, from the comfort of a heated home?

Hipocracy at its Finest!

Clinton Oxford said...

Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for life.

Teach a man to pray, and he will starve to death, praying for fish.

Anonymous said...

President Bush pioneered the Faith Based Initiative.


Anonymous said...

I believe the fact of the matter is that there can NOT be an acknowledgement of a "homeless problem" due to the "renaissance" we are going through. Investors are already wary due to the crime, local organizational push back in regards to jobs, and now this? The "powers that be" are not going to allow this to become an issue, so it's better to say it doesn't exist rather than to verify it and deal with the problem. Politics and money, ya gotta love it!

Alfonso Todd


Clinton Oxford said...

There is power in numbers. If a local church leader would grant refuge of all of the Lehigh Valley's homeless, within the Church walls, the City wouldn't allow it and would be forced to address the Issue.

All you need is a church leader willing to be a sacrificial lamb to Humanity.

Pastor Chris Santos @ The Rock Church could turn the tide with this Issue.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Alfonso, Excellent point.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Chris Santos is a phony who trolls the jail for tenants at his failing real estate ventures. The entire advisory board should be scrutinized for those looking to make a buck. Anyone with a financial interest in the human lives who spend time in jail, should not be part of that board. Nor should they be chaplains.

Anonymous said...

This is a tempest in a tapot. A commission, lead by our mayor's very able and professional wife, dramatically reduced the number of people at risk. This is a non-problem drumed up as a political

Bernie O'Hare said...

You can explain all that on your nonexistent radio show.

Dean N. Browning said...


I'm on the Board of the Allentown Rescue Mission (ARM) and wanted to comment on the statement you made about the ARM in your post.

As background, about 800 men a year come to the ARM. We provide over 36,000 meals per year and about 22,000 shelter nights. Along with food, shelter and clothing, we also provide computer training along with classes in resume building, budgeting and financial literacy. In addition, the ARM has contracts with about 50 local companies and does temporary labor work such as trash removal, lawn care, snow removal, property clean outs and even light construction. Participants in this program are paid and when they graduate they are better prepared to get a job and more equipped to keep it. We also provide subsidized housing in the community as these men make the transition from homelessness.

The ARM is also a Christian ministry which provides Bible studies and services. We make no apologies for this as over 100 years of experience have shown us that faith in a higher power, in this case Christ, is a critical component in changing the lives of those who come to the ARM. However, there is absolutely no requirement that the men who come to the ARM participate in any of these programs. Again, NO ONE is turned away because they won't "drink the kool-aid".

Finally, the ARM asks that anyone who wants stay have a voucher from the police stating that they have no outstanding warrants. This has been our policy for years and is done for the safety of the others who are staying at the ARM and for the safety of our staff. We have an excellent relationship with the Allentown Police Department (which is within walking distance of the ARM)in implementing this requirement. And even that requirement is waived when the temperatures drop to where they are now.

Dean N. Browning

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's fine, Dean, but that's no basis for Allentown's denial of a very real problem.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Also, since almost all of the Mission's money is privately donated, you have every right to insist people stand on their heads and walk in backwards of you want. I believe the ARM's work is laudable and have no quarrel with it. But it is no basis for Pawlowski to deny a problem, just like he denies the crime problem.

Anonymous said...

Let's pass immigration reform and bring in millions of more souls while million's already here are unemployed and homeless.

monkey momma said...

And yet, the mayor's own Facebook posting directs people TO Safe Haven if they are in need of finding someone shelter. It is odd to read about the condemnation of Safe Haven while seeing the mayor's own post recommending it. (His FB post is dated 1/21/14.)

Anonymous said...

some people refuse any rules period. Like showering so as not to offend in a bunk room situation. Then theres the bunk room, not exactly heaven for those with issues. Many homeless also don't want to be preached to, even non religious preaching they just want to be left alone in their own world. Churches and religions have always advocated for the poor so where are they in Allentown. Why does St pauls stand alone.Dont be so narrow minded to let organized religion off the hook. Ever hear of Trivent they are big on high end retirement homes. Do some digging Bernie, the big picture gets very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Will the Fake Rev. take a stand on this issue?

Anonymous said...

This homeless fight was started long ago in allentown, but there has been so many pet projects by that once entities heads monies are spread with very little accountability almost like were one of the original men creating this look out humanity now sits on a allentowns transgretional tranformation board and has become a sell out to the koolaid too? "QUOTE ME"

One in allentown pa has to watch the pot of shit they are stirring because there will always be the chance that the Hamilton Street Gang of Thugs will have the one openly speaking the truth delt with swiftly in there unjust retributional tactics? In other words criminal that will be deemed to be civil???????

patent pending