Monday, July 25, 2011
Too much advocacy?
Hwei-Ling Greeney, Chair of the Committee on Homelessness pointed out that the Housing Partnership has been in existence for almost 30 years and did nothing for the homeless. Ms. Greeney also observed that individual Select Board members did not show up this past winter at the shelter to drop off food or play cards with guests, yet now they are making this momentous decision impacting the shelter.
When Milestone Ministries announced last week they would not renew their contract to run the homeless shelter this coming season, partly because of "micromanaging" by the Committee on Homelessness, the Select Board took direct aim at legislating the committee out of existence. Select Board Chair Stephanie O'Keeffe called Milestone's decision "A serious step backwards."
A charge Ms. Greeney said "scapegoated" her committee.
Homeless advocate Kevin Noonan said Town Meeting can be "contentious" yet nobody talks about merging them with the Select Board. He also noted that Pastor Desroches of Milestone Ministries mentioned the "micromanaging" issue almost as an aside rather than a major game changer.
The town has secured $100,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding for the upcoming season to operate the shelter and Ms Greeney said she knew of five organizations that would respond to a town Request For Proposals and be ready to open the shelter November 1.
Had any of the homeless attended tonight's meeting to observe the one hour "discussion" they probably would have felt elated that town government is fighting over them so passionately.