Posts Tagged ‘People Without A House’

The Headline Says It All

March 14, 2021

            The Newark Advocate headlined “Four North 21st Street homes to be demolished for Sheetz gas station, store, restaurant” (Kent Mallett, 3-12-21). The story included the requisite song and dance of the company’s history, as well as the rigorous planning and zoning process activated with the, er, development. “The zoning certificate for the project will be granted when five conditions are met, [Newark City Engineer Brian] Morehead said.” There were photos of the houses to be leveled, interview with previous owner, etc. Besides, who hasn’t seen the Sheetz Truckstops when traveling on the interstate? A name you’ve grown to trust! Everything appears to be above board and legit, serving the beneficial interests of the community. Not. Four less homes to house the community. Earlier there was the overture to demolish another house at the corner of 21stand Church for the sake of another gas station/convenience store. When it comes to demolition the county land bank and Newark Development Partners Community Improvement Corporation can’t find enough, always in the name of development and growth. When it comes to finding homes for those without housing these city leaders are nowhere to be found (backing out of their commitment for a low barrier shelter on East Main Street). When it comes to developing housing, actually building affordable in town residences, the matter is poo-pooed for the razzle dazzle of River Rd. expansion, etc. Four less affordable homes is four less places to shelter in town Newark. The real “development” would be replacing these units with 4 new ones. A lack of housing is a lack of housing, and is a major contributor to the growing number of citizens without a house to call home. This is not complicated cause/effect reasoning. In the 80’s, New York City commercial investors bought up the in town residential properties for demolition and commercial “development.” This resulted in the overnight burgeoning of people on the streets without a house to call home. Remove the existing housing stock without replacement creates scarcity. Scarcity may be good for capitalism but it is bad if you need a roof over your head. No matter, Newark City government leaders are all patting themselves on the back for dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s in their quest to accommodate commercial “development.” But is commercial interest the public interest? Is the demolition of housing stock with no replacement in the interest of the public good? 

Addendum To Denial

January 11, 2021

            In the previous post, Welcome To Denial Ohio Jeff Hall Mayor (1-8-21), Analysis makes the claim that Kent Mallett’s report (East Main Street building to become Newark thrift store, not homeless shelter, 1-8-21) was really more about the “growing homeless population” than about the former Family Dollar store recycling into the new St. Vincent’s thrift store. A report by Melody Hahm appearing in Yahoo Finance (who knew?) gives a curious insight without the absurdity of “counting the homeless,” since we know that few will be inclined to self identify as “homeless.” Most are inclined to self identify as middle class, though they are not. So all you “middle class” out there, perk up. Hahm’s report is about you. Entitled “Middle-class homeowners will get ‘priced out permanently’: real estate investor Grant Cardone” it spells out the current road to the American dream paved with, well, Capitalist intentions. “The number of homes for sale reached an all-time low in December, as buyers remained active and eager to buy even during the holiday season.” “But given the low inventory and the quick turnaround of homes, middle class Americans are finding homeownership more inaccessible than ever, according to Grant Cardone, a real estate investor who manages a $1.4 billion portfolio of multifamily properties and also stars in Discovery Network’s (DISCA) reality series, “Undercover Billionaire.” “The middle class are going to get priced out permanently. The great divide will get wider, wealthy people are picking up second and third homes like most people buy Skittles or the way we were buying toilet paper back in March. The average person is not able to grab a house today. After the pandemic, the banks went to 20% down, now they’re doing double and triple checks to see if your future employment is stable,” he said during an interview with Yahoo Finance Live on Friday.” ““It’s going to get more and more difficult for people to buy homes in the lowest interest rate environment we’ve ever had, the middle class will not be able to take advantage of this. This validates the concept which I’ve been pushing… cash is trash and the wealthy are turning cash into real assets,” he added.” That helps shed some light on the current state of housing in Denial, er, Newark Ohio. For those unable to afford the flight to the far west side with its exceptional schools, there is only what remains in the already previously “developed” city. Aspiring homeowners who can’t afford the flight to the west side find themselves in competition with “the wealthy [who] are turning cash into real assets” – rentals. The percentage of rental stock available in Denial, er, Newark increases as a consequence of the flight to the far west side. Newark already has almost half its residential housing as investment property (non owner occupant). If “the banks went to 20% down, now they’re doing double and triple checks to see if your future employment is stable,” then rents themselves will be high. And rentals also demand background checks. No, not that a pandemic is in your background. Rents will be high since the alternative is to compete with the Capitalized landlord. Like the coldest days of winter to be, the flight to the far west side of Denial, er, Newark as a solution to its housing shortage contributes to a “growing homeless population” as a consequence.

Welcome To Denial Ohio Jeff Hall Mayor

January 8, 2021

            Decades ago in Australia’s capital of Canberra (or thereabouts) there was a native people’s demonstration aimed at renaming the central plaza with its aboriginal name. By the most guileful of means, the existing “colonial” signs were replaced with ones bearing the “pre-colonial” name of the place. Something analogous ought to happen in Newark Ohio. In the midst of all the media outrage posted regarding the events in our nation’s capital (as Gomer would say; “Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.”) Newark Advocate’s Kent Mallett headlined: East Main Street building to become Newark thrift store, not homeless shelter (1-8-21). “The Evans Foundation, working with Newark Development Partners and the now-defunct Licking County Task Force on Homelessness, purchased the building in late 2019 and leased it to the city of Newark as a location for a low-barrier shelter serving the area’s growing homeless population.” The buried lead here is “growing homeless population”, not “building.” Mallett further expounds, later in the report: “The state’s annual count of homeless later this month will provide more data, but Tegtmeyer [Deb Tegtmeyer, director of the Licking County Coalition for Housing] said the problem seems to have gotten worse. “The feeling is that it has increased, primarily for single adults, Tegtmeyer said. “The waiting list for families is short, because funds are available for them. Single adults are kind of a bigger challenge. With the moratorium on evictions (extended to the end of the month), we’re trying to get a handle on what might be coming.”” Factually, the coldest part of winter is coming. But Analysis digresses. Leading civic leaders of Denial involved with the purchase/lease back in 2019 were also interviewed by Mallett. “Sarah Wallace, chairwoman of the Evans Foundation, said the time had come to do something with the building at 200 East Main St. “I worry because it’s been vacant all this time and no concrete plans have been made,” Wallace said. “We just can’t let it sit there vacant. It’s not good for anybody. The longer a building sits vacant, the worse it is. “I’m excited to get it into use for the community. The St. Vincent de Paul Center is busting at the seams and they are in the business of serving the homeless.”” Indeed! Analysis would have preferred hearing something more like “I worry because people have been without shelter all this time and no concrete plans have been made, We just can’t let them be homeless. It’s not good for anybody. The longer people are without shelter, the worse it is.” But then again, with Denial’s downtown redevelopment and all, it is Capital first (and capitalized!), people much later. Analysis digresses again! “Dan DeLawder, chairman of Newark Development Partners, a public-private community improvement corporation involved in the effort to open a new shelter, said converting the building into a shelter failed because of a lack of funding. “It’s still premature to say how we’ll go forward,” DeLawder said. “We need a sustainable funding source to operate a shelter, and we haven’t found a solution to that. We haven’t seen anybody raise their hands and say we can help on a regular basis. We’re really stymied.”” That’s showin’ ‘em leadership, Dan. Throw in the towel after receiving the first punch on the nose. Funny the NDP hasn’t quit with its Arcade project, purchased in Denial the same year as the Family Dollar building. Further digression, mutter, mutter. And finally, the mayor of Denial, formerly a chief proponent of shelters as long as they aren’t located within the city limits, let alone in the heart of Denial (where his office resides); “The mayor applauded the effort of the Evans Foundation and St. Vincent de Paul, and said the effort to help those suffering with homelessness continues. “I fully support the reuse of that building,” Hall said. “St. Vincent de Paul does a wonderful job in the community helping those less fortunate and getting needed supplies for those in the area. “They acquired (the building) in case it worked out to be a homeless shelter. The building doesn’t make or break a plan. It’s complex and challenging in a lot of areas. It’s not an easy fix and not reliant on one building.”” One less lease to clean up after. One less egg to fry. Welcome to Denial Ohio, Jeff Hall Mayor.

Ouch!

September 25, 2020

            The truth hurts. 9-22-20 Newark Advocate’s Kent Mallett headlines Winter’s coming: Newark area homeless again without enough shelters. No, not winter, a not necessarily hurtful truth for some people (though maybe not those without shelter). But that another year dawns where, once again, there will be a scramble to “respond” to the truth of fellow citizens living with inadequate means to deal with what winter dishes out. Mallett’s story centers on the still defunct Family Dollar building (200 E. Main St.), purchased by the Evans Foundation and earmarked, at the time of purchase, to become a low barrier shelter for those with none. But first a round of studies with tax payer paid outside consultants to insure that it is done right (“Mayor Jeff Hall said although speed is important in opening a shelter, it’s most important to do it right.”). Along with the building purchase in 2019, Luken Solutions was contracted “to study the feasibility of operating a low barrier shelter.” There must have been an opt out clause in the agreement, as a year later Luken Solutions chose to exercise it (so much for Mayor Hall’s “speed is important”). Mallett quotes Trisha Pound, a member of the Licking County Task Force on Homelessness, who addressed the opt out by Sally Luken: ““The letter Sally wrote to us said she believed our community doesn’t want a low-barrier shelter. As someone that is a social worker in the community and knows how much we really need it, it’s alarming to me that a professional would say that they feel we don’t need a shelter or don’t want a shelter.”” (Ouch! The cat just clawed its way out of the bag. Remember Mayor Jeff Hall’s insight that he is all for a homeless shelter, as long as it is outside the city limits?). Another stakeholder, that vociferously embraced the Family Dollar building as a solution to those detracting from the renovation miracle of downtown Newark (Mallett pithily understates this “In the summer of 2018, the homeless problem gained attention when homeless persons were seen sleeping on benches around the Courthouse Square.”), tried to put a positive spin on Luken’s abdication: “Dan DeLawder, chairman of Newark Development Partners, a public-private community improvement corporation involved in the effort to open a new shelter, said someone needs to continue the work of Luken Solutions. “A number of things were accomplished by Sally and her work, not the least of which was to confirm that Licking County does have a need for an additional emergency shelter,” DeLawder said. “She did, in fact, confirm the need. We need beds. It’s as simple as that.”” Meanwhile, renovation work is going gang busters on Newark Development Partners’ downtown Arcade, also purchased in 2019. “Dan DeLawder, chairman of NDP, said, “We can’t pull this project off without tax credits. I don’t know how to do it, anyway. From a pure commercial perspective, tax credits will make this a possibility. We’re still in the early stages of development consideration. It’s just a massive project. It’s a very comprehensive effort underway to evaluate the facility and it is still too early to say a cost and what form or fashion it will be done.”” (Mallett again, 6-29-20 Arcade renovation project could cost $15 million, needs tax credits). Maybe declaring the Family Dollar building a historic landmark would get tax credits to build a low barrier shelter? Analysis finds the painful truth of “Winters coming: Newark area homeless…” to be the significant difference between, not only language but also the experienced actuality of, “dealing with homelessness” and helping people who are actually without housing, between quickly agreed upon “needs” and actual, acted upon wants (for an Arcade, Yes. For a low barrier shelter downtown, No!).