homelessness

State of the City Address 2014 – Coleman Wants All Columbus Residents To Share In The City’s Success

Bryan Curtiss, Writer

Sharing success was the theme of this year’s State of the City Address in Columbus. However, three barriers – homelessness, unemployment, and education, were the focal points of Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman’s 15th Annual State of the City Address on Wednesday night.

In what was a reality check for most people in attendance at the Battelle Grand Ballroom of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, the city’s homeless was one of the big topics of the State of the City Address, and Coleman made it a goal to "rebuild the lives of the homeless."

"Columbus is a community of stark and sobering contrasts. Some bask in the glow of our success while others struggle every day just to see the light," Coleman remarked about the homeless population in the city. Columbus has a high poverty rate, with some neighborhoods having over 30 percent unemployment rates. The Median Household Income for Columbus residents is $ 8,000 below National Average.

Coleman then told the struggles of two homeless people living in the Faith Mission Shelter while striving for a better life for themselves. One was of a technical worker who ended up homeless due to loss of income, and another was of a dislocated worker, who chose to stay in Columbus, rather than relocate to another city.

“Sharing our success means ensuring our residents have roofs over their heads and strong neighborhoods to live in,” Coleman said.

"Homelessness is becoming a bigger problem in this city than in this city's history," Coleman added. This winter alone, there have been an estimated 1,200 homeless residents in the city, with approximately 150 of them being turned away from overcrowded shelters, left to "fend for themselves".

Coleman proposed that $ 1.1 Million will be used to combat homelessness, partnering with the Community Shelter Board on the nation’s first case management system of customized intensive individual care.

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