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Kat’s Blog: Registrants Left Out in the Cold, Again

Great News!

Fremont, Ohio in Sandusky County has a homeless shelter. A homeless shelter that denies access to registrants, but a homeless shelter none the less.

I can’t help but wonder what the “do-gooders” of this town were thinking when they set up what is basically an “emergency shelter” and then decided to be prejudiced against who they will take in.

According to the local law enforcement of Fremont, there are approximately 6-8 homeless each night in the town.  Coincidently, the new shelter can hold 8 people. But if one of those 8 happens to be a registered “sex offender”, they would be left out in the cold, which in Ohio, in the dead of winter, can be very, very cold and can mean the difference between life and death.  (According to Nov. 2019 city statistics, there are approximately 45 registrants living in the town of Fremont.)

I’m certain the idea of a homeless shelter was well intended when it was conceived by those in the community. Warm beds, hot showers, meals and community resources made available to those down on their luck is always a thoughtful and generous gift for any community to extend.

What I’ll never understand is the “crystal-ball mentality” of those who open these shelters, those who seem certain that a cold, hungry, homeless registrant is looking to offend rather than perhaps just needing a warm bed, shower and a meal like any other homeless person might need.

Every year we read about shelters across the country turning away registrants, whether it’s shelters opened after tornados, floods, earthquakes or freezing temperatures. The irony of the situation is   there’s all sorts of people in homeless shelters, but aside from banning registrants whose names are available on a public registry, those in charge of shelters have no idea who else they may be housing.    Shelters may be housing those with criminal histories far worse than any registrant’s, they can be housing those with infectious communicable diseases or harboring fugitives, they just don’t know it because there’s no registry for those groups.

What’s it going to take for communities who see the need for homeless shelters to understand that “homeless is homeless” regardless of whether or not you’re a registrant? Registrants are no more likely to commit any kind of offense in a shelter than anyone else is, that mythical “safety factor” BS just doesn’t fly anymore.  If you’re going to exclude a group of people, you had better have some facts to base it on. We won’t stand for discrimination any longer.

So, what’s it going to take to change things? Sadly, we already know the answer. It’s going to take more registrants denied access to shelters and more registrants left out in the cold to freeze to death. What’s clear is that being on the registry and homeless in the middle of winter can potentially lead to death.  Maybe “wrongful death suits” filed against the registry and shelters by families of registrants who have died is the answer. But should more registrants have to die before things change?

This particular shelter is funded by donations and manned by volunteers. I seriously doubt they’d accept a registrant as a volunteer, but do you think they’d turn down a registrant’s monetary donation?

I doubt it.

 

Join the discussion

  1. Eric

    I remember back in the 60’s when I was a child. It was rumored that a gay couple had moved in down the street and all the kids should stay away from them because of the evil things that could happen. The people that made this rule are the same narrow minded people of the past, they have just shifted their prejudice to a minority class that can acceptably be discriminated against, but it is the same ignorance.

    • R M

      Back in the 60’s… I was born in 62. My earliest memory is around 6 years old and walking to school. I walked down my street, a right onto another, then a walk to the school. I had no ideal about sex, no ideal who had a penis, no ideal about what a vagina was, no ideal if one liked the other or not. I didn’t care, I was going to school as my Mom said I had too. After school, we played inside, or outside in the street. No body cared, no body drove down our street in a van offering candy. My mom worked during the day and left us alone (no cell phones then). No body warned me about my older brother. No body warned me about his friends.

      • Eric

        @ RM Uh…ok…????

        • R M

          @Eric: Read between the lines and look at the stats. “No body warned me about my older brother. No body warned me about his friends.” Nobody in a white van drove down the street and drug me in.

  2. Agamemnon

    One would hope that a civil rights lawyer could contact one of the homeless registrants and file a discrimination suit on their behalf.

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