Note: The following “Letter to the Editor” expresses the views and opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily that of The Sun Times News management or staff.
PUT IT ON THE BALLOT!
In response to Jim Wolfington (Chelsea State Bank VP who has worked with Avalon on multiple projects), Carol McCabe (former executive director of Avalon; although we have never met, I have read numerous articles in which she laments about tenants letting unauthorized people into their apartments who caused problems) and Nick Roumel (Ann Arbor attorney), I would like to clarify a few things.
Jim, when you tell us that “Avalon’s supportive housing is a vastly more cost-effective alternative to the county jail,” aren’t you equating homelessness to criminal behavior? Did that cost analysis include the 10 million tax dollars needed to build the facility or the mental health and safety bond that passed in 2017 that we all pay into already for supportive services and policing? The article you were looking for was called ‘Life, Death and Madness’ and printed in the Ann Arbor Observer’s January 2011 issue. It is a story about a man named Brian Williams who was living in a group home in Ypsi. His HUD approved “disability” was schizophrenia. One day, he “went off the rails” and beat a U of M student, Kevin Hersinger, to death for no apparent reason other than his “disability.” He was found innocent by way of insanity.
By the way, Carol, how exactly do you screen your tenants? Is schizophrenia OK across the street from our 5 year olds or can’t you discriminate? What about current illegal drug users in a state- and federally-mandated drug free zone? Does that matter? And what about health issues? Do you test for TB or HIV or hepatitis–all prevalent health issues on the streets? Are the kids up on their shots? Are any of them violent in school? What about criminal records and guns and anger issues? There is a whole host of questions that need to be addressed. In fact, this is a brand new type of housing for Dexter that will impact the entire school district. Since this is city-owned land and this particular use will significantly impact residents who actually own the land, shouldn’t this be put on the ballot giving voters the say in its use? We think so!
NO one, not Jim or Carol or Nick or Council or FIA or Avalon can guarantee the safety of our children with a concentrated group of people who have significant behavioral “disabilities” across the street (this is what qualifies them for supportive housing).
I worked at the U of M Hospital and St Joseph’s hospital for 20 years very closely with disabled patients, volunteered at the VA, and even led a group from my church to feed the homeless of Ann Arbor, so helping people is what I do. In this case, I am helping my granddaughter and her friends to be safe. Compassion turns to stupidity when you put our kids at risk by intentionally importing a problem (from all over Washtenaw County) that we have not had before and putting it directly across the street from our elementary schools. Bottom line–this location is unacceptable for this facility. A decision this significant should be decided by the people who live here, not by council.
PUT IT ON THE BALLOT!