Oct 14, 2015

Allentown Internment Camp For Homeless

According to Rich Fegley, who is a write-in candidate for Allentown City Council this year, the city will use the Fountain Park Pool House as a homeless shelter this winter. Although pool house sounds like a cabana, it's actually a stark concrete block building from the 1940's, where you could change into a swimming suit. This barrack opens to a high fenced in area, where the idle empty pools sit in a state of dilapidation. During the day, if they're physically capable of it,  the homeless can attempt to climb the steep steps, going three block straight up toward Walnut Street. Only a few years ago, the homeless lived under the 8th Street Bridge, in a small shantytown. The First Lady of Allentown, Lisa Pawlowski, had that demolished, and the hapless homeless ended up at Alliance Hall last year, after spending a couple of winters in a church basement. For whatever reason, perhaps Alliance Hall is too close to the downtown renaissance, the hapless will now be back on Martin Luther King Drive.

ADDENDUM: The Morning Call has picked up on the story.  According to them,  the pool house is currently under renovation.  However,  the paper also had the parkway wall collapsing while under renovation.  Nothing had been done to the parkway wall for 80 years prior to the collapse, and nothing has been done since.  So far,  the same invisible city crew has been working at the pool house.


Anonymous said...

I read Rich's posts yesterday, and frankly I was stunned. Every time you think this administration can't get any worse, they surprise you with a move like this.

It would be funny if it weren't tragic with real lives of people who need help being shunned.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

Sonds like a allentown FEMA camp that sits within allentowns Federal ReWritten floodplane¿!($ Maybe there is a more henious agenda behind interncamp as you call it, two birds with one stone by the notorious hamilton street gang o thug in the land of OZ¿!($
With the low agendas of the arena on would think with that building being heated those large and incharge cold have a place for the populous set up in the back hall¿!($
Just wanted to post because yesterdays reel was ommited from article like allentowns gag advertismental agency¿!($
patent pending

Anonymous said...

Will there be ice skating?

Anonymous said...

i thought the first lady's commission on homelessness resolved all this?

Anonymous said...

The Commission on Homelessness has, as of this week, disbanded.

If you want to know why Alliance Hall won't be used again, talk to the Alliance Hall Board (minus the current ED of the Conference of Churches).

Dreaming of Justice said...

Cartoonishly brazen indifference to Human Life. Arrogant Asses.

MUST this sad city continuously demonstrate that it DESERVES to be the brunt of jokes?

DWSLV said...

Seasonal (winter) sheltering needs to be in place to (hopefully) prevent people from dying on the street due to hypothermia. All shelters need to be safe places. (Tony Graham was crushed in that dumpster last winter because he felt unsafe at the winter shelter).

But, "sheltering" is only one response to this community health issue.

We need to start asking different questions:
1) Housing resolves homelessness. Where are the affordable places for people to have supported housing?
2) The Housing First model has been shown, in many cities, to reduce overall costs to the community. What are the roadblocks from adopting that model here?
3) To be clear, Housing First is NOT Housing Only. There MUST BE wraparound services to help people with any MH, BH, or DnA issues, with job training, with transportation. What can't the support agencies repurpose their services to getting people into housing and help keeping them housed (Housing First, Rapid Re-Housing, and Housing Retention?
4) What would it take to clone the MontCo YourWayHome approach here in the Valley?

Thanks for listening.

Anonymous said...

I was in lehigh county prison with tony. He had just been released maybe a week or so before being crushed. Tony worked everyday taking care of the mess hall making a dollar a day. I think he was down around a year and probably had a couple dollars to his name when he left
He was a little slow but a really nice guy. Too bad he couldnt find shelter besides a dumpster

Bill said...

I think the comparison to an internment camp is spot on.

Anonymous said...

There are homeless people in Renaissance city? Why can't they put cots in PPL Center? Isn't that a taxpayer supported place?
Just asking.

Julian Kern said...

As DWSLV said, we need the housing first model with wraparound services for the homeless here in Allentown. Having any winter or warming station is like putting a bandage on a cut that requires stitches. It is not going to solve the homeless problem.

Anonymous said...

Mike, there are pictures of the construction at the pool house. One has a wheelbarrow and some brooms leaning up against the wall. I didnt see any workers but again they're invisible. How could i be soo stupid.

DWSLV said...

Supposedly, discussions about the Pool House have been going on since early August at least. These discussions (betw the City, the Conference, and HADC) surely factored in the renovation time period.

BTW, for this area, 40 degrees is the threshold for danger of hypothermia.


michael molovinsky said...

anon@10:11, i was parked there on the lot on monday, and there was no indication of work. if the work began since then, or before, by looks of that photo, it hasn't been going on very long, or very much. the nights are going to be below freezing already this weekend.

DWSLV said...

To clarify: "night-time temperatures of 40 or below can lead to hypothermia" Here in the Valley, that scenario generally occurs between November 1st and April 30th. These were the hours of operation of the 14/15 Winter Shelter. The Pool House Winter Shelter will open in November, just as soon as the renovations are complete.

For reference, the Bethlehem Emergency Sheltering organization -- now starting its 9th or 10th season -- is open from Dec 1 to Mar 31.


DWSLV said...

And, one last comment:

The 14/15 winter shelter at Alliance Hall has a huge improvement over the arrangements in prior years.

The 15/16 winter shelter at the Pool House will be better than Alliance Hall (due to availability of showers).

This is much progress, based on prior years. Is it really the best that this community can do?

It was the best that a rag-tag group of advocates/activists could make happen within the constraints of the existing fortress silos.

More progress, faster!! PressOn!!


Chris said...

Fortress silos...well-said, Dale.