Connecting the Homeless
There is much to be said on the topic of Cleveland's homeless. Whether they are martyrs to America's freedom, a draconian warning example, something to swept under the rug, useful objects for the practice of religion and other more secular business, or the monsters of the post-modern collective unconscious--something must be done.
At least there should be a simple and comprehensive information source. At least the power of the internet should be made a tool.
Strange as it may seem, it is evident that most of Cleveland's homeless population is internet connected. They are seen daily at the Cleveland public libraries on Facebook, on job boards, and playing video games. But further, these days every so-called "Obama phone" is a smartphone, and the internet is at hand 24/7.
But what is lacking is a specific website where the homeless can access resource information--there should be a website which acts as a central information site for all of Cleveland. Information is empowerment.
Right now, there are a great many social service agencies. This is a good thing. The "homeless consumer" should be able to "shop" among the various agencies. One monolithic agency would be inefficient, and it is good to have "competition" among the agencies.
But to make an informed choice, "the homeless consumer" needs to know who these agencies are, where they are located, what they do, what buses run there, their hours, phone numbers, etc.
For that reason even though it is good to have a great many agencies, it is vital that there should be a central information website to answer these questions and others. Where to get meals, clothes, bus passes, job counseling, medical help, Medicaid, addiction services, etc.
I would call this website CHAIN (Cleveland Homeless Assistance Information Network) because it is short and easy to remember, and chains make up networks.
There needs to be a website administrator to keep up with all the agencies, programs, their changes, and to make necessary updates.
There should be an FAQ (frequently asked questions) section, of course. But also interactivity would be good--where the homeless would have a voice and can "talk back." And there should be polls--what do the homeless think about the agencies, how they are treated, and other issues. In short, there should be "marketing surveys" of the homeless consumer.
But interactivity implies the the need for someone to monitor the board daily and to delete libelous comments.
Finally, there should be a Dear Abby like advice columnist--a licensed psychologist. Besides being useful, it would encourage readership, even daily readership.