Shelters: Get it done


The melodrama over four Toledo homeless shelters continues. Mayor Mike Bell and City Council insist on waging a political brawl over a concern that should inspire unity: people who need help.

The mayor sought to reduce city funding of the shelters, to comply with his interpretation of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requirements. The council reversed him, which administration aides said it had no right to do.

Mayor Bell came up with a new, slightly more generous funding plan. In the latest volley, council members voted 10-1 this week to return funding of the shelters to 2012 levels. The mayor is threatening to veto these allocations.

By all accounts, the four shelters — Aurora House, Family House, St. Paul’s Community Center, and LaPosada — do good and necessary work, and do it efficiently and economically. All deserve to be fully funded.

The homeless Toledoans who will not be served if the mayor’s cutbacks prevail have nowhere else to go. It’s hard to understand his stinginess toward the shelters, because there seems to be no principle — no real point — to this showdown between the mayor and council. If this spitting match is about something, someone should say what that something is.

In the meantime, the back-and-forth gamesmanship is cynical. At stake are the lives of homeless adults and children. Mayor Bell and the council need to stop the games and assure the shelters of full funding.

The shelters are vitally necessary and worthy of the city’s full support. They should not be a political football.