[Hpn] Let's fight homelessness by legal means

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Fri, 25 Jan 2008 11:11:48 -0500


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http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3D873353

Let's fight homelessness by legal means
Posted 3 hours ago
Ray Botten's heart is in the right place. But he should reconsider his =
methods. Earlier this week the Owen Sound man shackled himself to a =
banister at the Grey County building. In his own words, he used "a =
12-foot linked chain, three cable lock chains, and a combination lock," =
to do the deed.=20

Botten was asked to leave by county staff and refused. Police were =
called. They too asked him to leave. He refused again, saying he would =
not resist, but neither would he comply.=20

In the end, two more police officers were called and the four of them =
carted Botten off to a squad car. He was later charged with trespassing, =
the same charge he received just before Christmas, when he parked =
himself in a chair in front of city hall in a blinding snowstorm, and =
stayed out there all night.=20

Clearly, Botten is well-intentioned. He believes he has a moral =
obligation to help the homeless and he doesn't think the rest of us pay =
enough attention to their plight. He's right about that. We don't. Owen =
Sound desperately needs more low-cost housing, and more emergency =
housing.=20

Various groups and agencies are trying to address the problem, but =
progress has been too slow.=20

That said, there is progress. Just this week, County chief =
administrative officer Gary Wood finalized funding arrangements with the =
YMCA's housing program and with Safe 'n Sound Residence, a new =
non-profit group formed last year after the Sally Ann shut down =
Samaritan House.=20

So, there is now a system in place for getting help to the homeless in =
our area. Accredited agencies can gain access to provincial money, =
through the county, to pay for emergency housing, at a rate of $40.75 a =
day, per person.=20

In future, rather than chain himself to a banister, Botten might =
volunteer to work for one of these agencies. No doubt, they could use =
the help.=20

Passive resistance against oppression has a long and noble history. But =
in this case the action took place in a thriving local democracy, in =
which well-meaning people, both in and out of government, are working =
hard to address the problem.=20

Also, what of the health and safety of the police officers who had to =
carry Botten out of the county building? What if he, or they, were =
injured in the process? And what if the four officers had been unable to =
attend to an emergency call, because of the time they were required to =
spend with Botten?=20

The law exists for a reason. Before political activists of any stripe =
resort to breaking it, they should ensure that every legal avenue has =
been exhausted. That doesn't seem to have happened in this case.

















William Charles Tinker, Sr.
New Hampshire Homeless
Founded 11-28-99
25 Granite Street
Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 USA
Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights.
1-603-286-2492
http://www.missingkids.com
http://www.nationalhomeless.org
http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org
newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com

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<H2 style=3D"MARGIN-TOP: 0px"><A=20
href=3D"http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3D873353">=
http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3D873353</A></H2>
<H2 style=3D"MARGIN-TOP: 0px">&nbsp;</H2>
<H2 style=3D"MARGIN-TOP: 0px">Let's fight homelessness by legal =
means</H2>
<H5 class=3Dgrey>Posted 3 hours ago</H5>
<P class=3DaJustify>Ray Botten's heart is in the right place. But he =
should=20
reconsider his methods. Earlier this week the Owen Sound man shackled =
himself to=20
a banister at the Grey County building. In his own words, he used "a =
12-foot=20
linked chain, three cable lock chains, and a combination lock," to do =
the deed.=20
</P>
<P>Botten was asked to leave by county staff and refused. Police were =
called.=20
They too asked him to leave. He refused again, saying he would not =
resist, but=20
neither would he comply. </P>
<P>In the end, two more police officers were called and the four of them =
carted=20
Botten off to a squad car. He was later charged with trespassing, the =
same=20
charge he received just before Christmas, when he parked himself in a =
chair in=20
front of city hall in a blinding snowstorm, and stayed out there all =
night. </P>
<P>Clearly, Botten is well-intentioned. He believes he has a moral =
obligation to=20
help the homeless and he doesn't think the rest of us pay enough =
attention to=20
their plight. He's right about that. We don't. Owen Sound desperately =
needs more=20
low-cost housing, and more emergency housing. </P>
<P>Various groups and agencies are trying to address the problem, but =
progress=20
has been too slow. </P>
<P>That said, there is progress. Just this week, County chief =
administrative=20
officer Gary Wood finalized funding arrangements with the YMCA's housing =
program=20
and with Safe 'n Sound Residence, a new non-profit group formed last =
year after=20
the Sally Ann shut down Samaritan House. </P>
<P>So, there is now a system in place for getting help to the homeless =
in our=20
area. Accredited agencies can gain access to provincial money, through =
the=20
county, to pay for emergency housing, at a rate of $40.75 a day, per =
person.=20
</P>
<P>In future, rather than chain himself to a banister, Botten might =
volunteer to=20
work for one of these agencies. No doubt, they could use the help. </P>
<P>Passive resistance against oppression has a long and noble history. =
But in=20
this case the action took place in a thriving local democracy, in which=20
well-meaning people, both in and out of government, are working hard to =
address=20
the problem. </P>
<P>Also, what of the health and safety of the police officers who had to =
carry=20
Botten out of the county building? What if he, or they, were injured in =
the=20
process? And what if the four officers had been unable to attend to an =
emergency=20
call, because of the time they were required to spend with Botten? </P>
<P>The law exists for a reason. Before political activists of any stripe =
resort=20
to breaking it, they should ensure that every legal avenue has been =
exhausted.=20
That doesn't seem to have happened in this case.</P>
<P>&nbsp;</P>
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<P><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P>
<P><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P>
<P><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P>
<P><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P>
<P><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P>
<P><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</P></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>William Charles Tinker, Sr.<BR>New =
Hampshire=20
Homeless<BR>Founded 11-28-99<BR>25 Granite Street<BR>Northfield,N.H. =
03276-1640=20
USA<BR>Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human=20
rights.<BR>1-603-286-2492<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.missingkids.com">http://www.missingkids.com</A><BR><A =

href=3D"http://www.nationalhomeless.org">http://www.nationalhomeless.org<=
/A><BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org">http://www.newhampshirehomel=
ess.org</A><BR><A=20
href=3D"mailto:newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com">newhampshirehom=
eless-subscribe@topica.com</A><BR></FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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