Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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September 17th, 2015

Dealing with the Homeless

There was a big outcry last week when it was suggested that a Homeless Shelter be placed in Monticello.

The voices were loud and clear – Many coming people seeking election or reelection this November.

The simple truth is that these people and others are correct – The proposed Monticello Shelter was the wrong fit for the community in a time when the image of Monticello is being rebuilt and developers are walking in investing billions of dollars in a casino and other forms of development.

But – the simple truth is – this should not mean that we do not have an obligation to take care of those in need – and those seeking shelter.

In fact – Last winter during the coldest days – after learning Sullivan County did not have a shelter to bring people in from the cold – The Village of Monticello put together a make shift shelter in the Ted Stroble Center under the direction of Village Manager David Sager and the Village Board.

Reportedly the County plan is to open up Homeless Shelters in Monticello and Liberty.

Opening a homeless shelter sounds like a wonderful idea – But our elected and governmental officials need to figure out how to help those people in need before it gets to the point where they need a homeless shelter in the first place.

According to Sullivan County Legislator Ira Steingart there was a lot of misinformation on the Homeless Shelter project.

Steingart said he would not support a homeless shelter at any location without the full vetting of the proposal with officials from the host community. “The misinformation that a proposed homeless shelter at the County owned property at Pelton Street in Monticello was imminent is simply not true.” Steingart stated, “I have …been opposed this location for several weeks. While I fully support finding an intelligent, long term solution to the homeless problem in our County, placing a shelter in a business district that we are trying to revitalize does not make any sense.”

Steingart further said, “The County has several buildings which were foreclosed on for non-payment of taxes, each of which could potentially fulfill a current need that the County has, including storage, Sheriff’s Patrol, housing or office space. It is my duty to make sure that we meet those needs in the most cost effective way possible. At this point DPW is looking into the condition of the structures so that we can better analyze the best use for this property to determine if they meet any of our needs or should simply be sold at auction. However, a homeless shelter in a business district is not an option.”

Jeff Siegel, Monticello Businessman and Candidate for Legislature held a press conference last week denouncing a Homeless Shelter. He argued that private organizations should be involved providing shelter, and that the County had other things to focus on such as our infrastructure.

Besides Monticello – Homeless Shelters are planned for Liberty.

Legislator Cora Edwards said, “It is my understanding that there are currently many housing vendors throughout the County with sufficient housing stock to provide ‘transitional housing’ and get the homeless back on their feet and into employment, provided there is a strong job training element.

As a County Legislator for the Liberty area, it is unbalanced – to say the least- to add to the significant burden that Liberty taxpayers already bear.”

Town of Thompson Supervisor Bill Rieber probably the most vocal against the proposed Monticello Homeless Shelter said, “great odds and with the solid team effort we now have a very real chance to improve this area, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and climb out of the economic hole we have been in. With a new Village Board under Mayor Doug Solomon and Manager Dave Sager the Town of Thompson and The Village of Monticello are finally working together in a very real and positive way. Monticello has much more than its share of low income subsidized housing, social welfare housing and with the Recovery Center anchoring the East end of the Village we don’t need another facility of this type at the Western end.”

Rieber continued, “This proposal, no matter how well meaning and necessary the County thinks it is, has “Bad” written all over it. It is time to cut this project off at the knees. Well over a month ago I privately expressed my dismay to County Officials for even considering this project. It obviously will not go away until our legislators take a firm no-nonsense stance against it. Don’t think about it, don’t study it. Just stop it, sell the property and get tax revenue from it. Monticello needs to be the land of new beginnings while it has a chance.”

Indeed – Dealing with the Homeless is a very tough moral issue.

We have an obligation not to walk away from those in need – We need to develop a long range plan to prevent people from becoming homeless.

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.

1 comment to Dealing with the Homeless

  • Geri Schwarz

    Perhaps placing a homeless shelter in an “upcoming” business district is the answer. JOBS are created. The reason most of these people are homeless is because they do not have jobs… and chances are, without a vehicle, as well. Placing people in need of jobs, near the jobs, might work out. The legislators seem to be looking at homeless people as “paraiahs”, “untouchables”. “Oh, but for the grace of G-d, go I.” Oh thou Sullivan County Legislators… stop wooing those with gold who make speeches, and care the least about the community, and ignore those that are already here, struggling. If you are worried about the Village and its “fine image”, stop the drug trade, the gang warfare, the dog fighting, and give those who have lost their homes, a temporary home, so that they can find a permanent home … How many people are without homes because they lost them to the County, which now owns all of those residences suggested to become “HOMELESS SHELTERS”? Government officials, take your “moral indignation” and shove it.
    And please, responders, hold off on the personal insults!