Jan 26, 2016
Allentown's Homeless Under The Bridge
When the Pawlowski's were crowned in 2006, the homeless were living under the 8th Street Bridge and kids were swimming in Fountain Park Pool, both shown in the old postcard above. While the king set about depreciating the park system, and closing the pool by hiring people with no institutional knowledge of the park system, the queen had a special spot in her heart for the homeless. Though her compassion, her new commission had meetings, but the plight of the homeless never actually improved, being shuttled from one basement floor to another.
This year, an imperfect improvement seemed as if it might help. The changing house at the now abandoned pool was converted into an overnight warming station, complete with beds. Earlier this fall, I complained that because of its remote location, it was actually an internment camp. Little did I know that unfortunately it was worse than that, because the homeless were forced out Saturday morning into the blizzard. In any direction, it's a very long steep walk to the next shelter from the storm. The director of the Conference of Churches, which manages the facility, explained to The Morning Call; "We did what we were supposed to do and what we are staffed to do," It's not the station's job to remain open during the day — even if there is a blizzard outside.
In a city with a $Billion Dollars of new development, there is something very sad about this story. At the coming city council meetings, knowledgeable people will address the council with practical suggestions, about how to address this and other problems. Those sitting up on that dais must start heeding that advise, clearly the existing systems are broken.