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Letter: Logical thinking is missing

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As a 30-year resident of Moorhead, it is difficult to understand the motivation behind the failed leadership of the City Council concerning the proposed apartment complex for families and veterans who are homeless. This group missed an opportunity to demonstrate compassionate and wise leadership for all of our residents while promoting the common good. Here are a few examples.

One council member shockingly questioned whether this kind of housing is even needed in our community. The entire council, as well as Moorhead residents, knows that homelessness has doubled in our community in the past 12 years, with children under the age of 18 making up more than 25 percent of this group. Also it is known nationally that for the past almost 30 years the fastest-growing demographic within this marginalized group are families.

Another council member at a recent meeting showed police visit printouts concerning the Community Gardens apartment located behind the Churches United for the Homeless facility as evidence of excessive criminality. She then suggested this would be the fate of the new facility. This member and the many residents in attendance were told by Churches United board members that the Community Gardens facility is for individuals with greater needs, unlike those folks who would live in the proposed building. We were also told by the police chief that many of these calls were not law violations.

And yet another council member suggested this apartment building for mostly families could be located by railroad tracks.

So what is their motivation for this failed leadership? It is certainly not fact- and reality-based.

For the past two years, I have worked with more than 100 children and youth and their many families staying at the Churches United shelter. I have met children who are multidimensional with gifts and talents in many areas, like art, music, academics and sports – just like the children living in my neighborhood.

I have met parents who know their children at deep and profound levels and care deeply for them – just like some parents in my neighborhood. One father made weekly calls to two different schools to check on his sons’ academic progress. Another father, who  was not raised by his dad, reads to his son every night and is so proud of his son’s skills in math and reading – again, just like some parents in my neighborhood.

Are all of the parents like this? Of course not, and neither are all of the parents living in Moorhead’s many neighborhoods.

It is interesting that many letters in The Forum that are supportive of the proposed apartment building are typically written by individuals who know the children, youth, parents/guardians and single adults staying at the Churches United for the Homeless facility. Maybe experiences like this are what is needed to think logically about this important issue.

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