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Published: Sunday, 5/20/2012

Letters to the Editor

Homeless shelter pleads its case

I am bewildered by the comments of Deb Conklin, the executive director of the Toledo Lucas County Homelessness Board ("Homeless shelters at war with planners; Advocates upset by loss of U.S. funds," May 12).

She said that the board is trying to bring Toledo into line with the goals of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Which goals?

Your article suggests that the point is to accelerate the path to permanent housing for homeless people. But these are people, not numbers.

Thirty-day stays in a shelter may work for some, but what about those with drug or mental-health issues? These issues are rarely, if ever, resolved in 30 days or less.

Ms. Conklin said: "The providers do not drive the continuum of care… if the community rises up to the challenge, the [shelters] will not be needed, and that is the goal." There is not a city of more than 100,000 people in which needs are not addressed by homeless shelters.

If Aurora Project Inc. were just one entity disagreeing with the homelessness board, that would be one thing. However, several sources feel disenfranchised from the decision-making process.

I challenge Ms. Conklin to bring stakeholders to the table with HUD, and have transparent, substantive conversations. The stakeholders could hear directly from the provider of funds.

Now is the time to gather information and work together on solutions, not to issue edicts from on high on how homelessness in Toledo will be addressed.

Robert Robinson

Board Chairman Aurora Project Inc. North Superior Street

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Volunteer speaks up for Aurora House

Two years ago, my daughter and I started looking for a project. We both had heard of Aurora House and how it serves battered women and children. We decided to serve there.

At first I was apprehensive, because I was bringing junior high school girls to help these people. But after our first visit, we all knew Aurora House is amazing.

Aurora House not only offers a safe place for women to stay, it also helps them with counseling for drug and alcohol addiction, teaches life and parenting skills, and guides them to other programs.

We have seen many women go back to school, while others are supporting themselves by working at full-time jobs.

I hope that before local officials make any decisions to cut funding, they consider women who might not have anywhere else to go if it were not for Aurora House. They will become productive, tax-paying citizens again.

Angi Maxwell

Perrysburg Township

Board should listen to 2 groups

I am a supporter of Family Outreach Community United Services, which attempts to teach homeless people to live normally again.

I also contribute to Independent Advocates, which helps victims of domestic violence deal with law enforcement and the courts.

Each organization has helped to reduce Toledo-area homelessness. The county's homelessness board would do well to listen to these knowledgeable observers of the ins and outs of Toledo's homeless.

Wesley Sampson

Sylvania

Redesigned site poses problems

In response to the May 3 Readers' Forum letter "Interstate ramps need redesign": A redesigned ramp site that I know of presents a traffic hazard.

Consider the massive redesign of I-475/U.S. 23 and Dussel Drive-Salisbury Road in Maumee and Monclova Township. Entering the northbound ramps from the east or west requires the merging of three lanes.

For eastbound traffic to head north, a motorist must merge with fast-moving northbound traffic on one side and ramp traffic entering from westbound Dussel on the other.

This configuration appears to be a disaster waiting to happen. One can do as the driver of a vehicle following me recently did, and I did too: merge earlier on this lengthy, middle access ramp and travel across the rumble strips when there is a clearer opening into I-475/U.S. 23 northbound traffic.

This beautifully landscaped, expensive new interchange seems poorly configured for traffic. Toledo area motorists seem to drive routinely at excessive speeds, unimpeded by any semblance of law enforcement.

It's little wonder horrific accidents happen.

Janet Tewell

Waterford Place

A true Christian is inclusive in caring

The Rev. Tony Scott's May 15 op-ed column, "No one can change the definition of real marriage," explains why so many people are repelled by those of us who claim to be Christian.

We are hypocrites. We claim to take seriously the message of Jesus. Yet we regularly ignore it and misuse Scripture to point fingers at others instead of looking at ourselves.

The time, money, and energy that is spent keeping gay people from marrying should be spent on the real concerns written about in every book of the Bible: showing our love of God by caring for the poor and the outcast.

I am a lifelong Christian, born and raised in the Episcopal Church. Although our tradition leaves room for faithful people to disagree, we recognize that all people, gay and straight and every other variety, are God's beloved creation. God loves each person without exception.

We take Scripture seriously. We look at the context and history of each book of the Bible. Through prayer, study, and discernment, we strive to find the best way to live our faith.

The "battle over traditional marriage" is not "a battle for the soul of America," as Reverend Scott writes. The battle for the soul of any wealthy nation is whether we care for those in the greatest need and on the farthest margins.

The weapons of pride and self-righteousness that we brandish in the name of God will kill more of God's beloved than we will ever know.

Those who oppose gay marriage shouldn't marry someone of the same sex. Those who want to be a good Christian should stop spouting rhetoric and start acting like Jesus.

The Rev. Elizabeth Hoster

Rector Trinity Episcopal Church Adams Street



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