WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – The homeless liaison position passed by a vote 4 to 3; closer than usual at Wheeling City Council.
Some are calling it a step in the right direction to help our homeless, others harbor apprehensions with where we’ll get the money, and even more say this is a band aide for a cast.
The vote shows some council members have apprehensions about where the checks will come from; which is not determined yet.
Council hopes the liaison will bring all organizations that help the homeless, together, and create a collaborative approach.
Mayor Glenn Elliott says it will help the city collect better data on this issue.
Some say the homeless need additional emergency housing options, not just a liaison.
“Wheeling is a friendly city. We are going to be judged by the residents who are least able to help themselves. So, it’s critical for us, not just in social services, but residents throughout the city to find a way to make sure we are really welcoming our neighbors.”Mark Phillips, Northern Regional Director for Catholic Charities WV
But, playing devil’s advocate, some residents might not see why money is going to help represent a group that is not considered productive in society. To which advocates say everyone deserves a seat at the table.
“I don’t know a city out there that has completely solved this problem, but the cities that are doing the best are the cities that bring everyone around the same table and find collaborative solutions. So, that’s what we’re trying to do here. It’s not a magic bullet. It’s not going to solve everything. But we hope it’s going to move the conversation forward to where we see a reduction in numbers. Where, in the past couple of years it seems like it’s getting worse each year.”Mayor Glenn Elliott, Wheeling
City Manager Robert Herron will now begin the hiring process in the next week.
This liaison will be hired on for three years only. Come that time, the next city council will decide whether to keep the position or not.
The city is considering all routes of payment, starting with potentially tapping into funds from the American Rescue Plan.