As our leaders in Washington grapple with our federal spending, I want to call attention to local programs that have a direct impact on the lives of our fellow Preble County citizens.
American lawmakers from both sides have always come together to support impoverished peoples, not only in our country but all over the world. So, why are Preble County officials reluctant to support people here in our beloved community?
Specifically, our elected county commissioners seem to believe that providing assistance for people experiencing homelessness is not a government function. In response to the HIT Foundation’s request for assistance from the county, Commissioner Robertson said, “churches need to be contributing and helping more than they do. So, I don’t see this as a government function.” Commissioners Creech and Day agreed, with Creech specifically saying he cannot support the foundation because “we’ve already spent 70 percent of our budget on people who don’t pay taxes” and the people utilizing the services, such as the homeless shelter, “need to be working 12 hours a day” so that we can stop “spending more of our taxpayer dollars on services that we’re not getting a return on.”
Thirty-seven percent of people experiencing homelessness are families with children (AHAR to Congress, 2016). Also, there are many reasons why someone is homeless, such as lack of affordable housing, inability to work without assistance, and physical/mental illnesses and a lack of supportive health services. Organizations such as the HIT Foundation provide services to help them overcome such adversities.
I implore compassion. Our commissioners have been elected to represent our community; those who are homeless should be regarded as the fellow humans and community members they are.