I just got done having breakfast with a co-organizer from the Decrim Task 
Force who is currently at Simpson Shelter. We got together with another 
to help him get a place to live.

I have had no luck getting a response from the pubic officials who know this 
man and the incredible work he has done. I have asked them to at least give 
him a call to say they care about him. He told me there have been no calls or 

 The fact that he is African-American and not getting help is not lost on me. 
The fact that he is a veteran, well...so it goes in Mpls nice.

Kind of tired of seeing folks experiencing homelessness used when testimony 
is required to public bodies...and then forgotten.

This sort of silent lack of response is the hallmark to me of who is "in" and 
is "out" among the powers that be.

Certainly, I am not much of a power person in the existing food chain of 
Rest assured that, despite this silent lack of response--- that housing will 
be found for this man.

But, the cold slap in the face of indifference towards his plight has left me 
with a reality check regarding people I thought I could respect.

I met him at 7a.m. when the shelter closes. ...had a chance to talk to 
several of the men staying there.

Told them about the City's revision to allow shelters to stay open 24/7 and 
asked them if the Shelter Staff had informed them of this important change.

They told me this was news to them...shelter staff did not tell them of the 

I told them about one provider being quoted in the paper as saying something 
to the effect that the provider wouldn't like having to sit on a bunk in a 
shelter basement all day.

The response I got to this was "Hey, they should live what we have to live 
before they say something like that." One man I spoke to works during the day 
and then stays at the shelter.

We talked about how tiring it is to be kicked out of a shelter at 7a.m.
We talked about how, particularly on Saturdays and Sundays, after the 
shelters close...they have to wait for the very few drop-ins to open and then 
walk, walk to get to them...and they never stay open long enough hours to cover 
the time until shelters open.

We talked about the need for access to phones and the ability get call backs 
which would be possible if shelters were open during the day ..so people could 
hook up with services.

For shelter providers, there is an opportunity to alleviate some suffering 
and also provide help to people.The cry that they do not have the money, 
well....time for the crying to stop and a commitment to getting the money and 
and volunteers needs to happen now.
Instead of managing homelessness, shelters need to end it...and a step 
towards doing that is to provide rest for the weary, access to phones and 
resources during the day.

When I was a shelter advocate, I would have people on occasion say how much 
they admired what I did. My response was, "I am doing my job, that I do 
love...but I do not deserve special praise."

Being a shelter provider or advocate still requires accountability like any 
other job.

Margaret Hastings
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