|Allentown's Official City Bird|
""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.