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The story broke on a simple blog site...The Tallahassee Grapevine. Soon the story of inappropriate, unethical, and borderline illegal actions at a local homeless shelter went viral. Enough so that some one went to the effort to hack into the website and take down the article. Whoever enjoyed limited success. But, the story is back.
Here are some observations (in no particular order).
How deep does the rabbit hole go? More and more people are coming out - clients, volunteers; each with their own account of problems. Some talk of the treatment of the homeless that come through The Shelter, others the conditions of the facility, many both.
From my chair Mel Eby has done work that most would rather not take part in and that should be (and is) appreciated. But, something is wrong at The Shelter. I have absolutely no doubt of the veracity of Renee Miller's account of her visit to The Shelter.
City Manager Anita Favors Thompson has asked Tallahassee Police to investigate. When police came to The Shelter when Mrs. Miller called officers told her there was no crime however disgusting her treatment. Perhaps police will find that there have been sexual encounters forced on female residents of The Shelter. We'll see.
Regardless of the outcome of the investigation there are clearly questions that demand answers and problems that need fixing. That is up to City and County Commissioners, Board members and donors (like the United Way of The Big Bend) because I doubt that Mr. Eby is interested in doing anything without being forced to or he would have addressed these issues already.
People get comfortable when the public money flows and that's likely what has happened here. With all due respect Mr. Eby really does not have to go around and beg for funding like most other local organizations do; he has set pools of money that flow...a lot of money.
We all have opinions on how the homeless situation, whether locally or nationally, ought to be handled. However I think we can agree on this...they are human beings that should be treated with a basic level of decency and that includes at The Shelter, whether Mr. Eby wants to hear from us or not.