In early May, Mayor Levar Stoney declared Richmond a “city of compassion” in a professionally produced video and news release. He cited the larger global befriend movement (charterforcompassion.org/about1) as well as the city’s commitment to “transforming systems to serve those who need them.”
Over the following three days – Mother’s Day weekend – nighttime temperatures plunged into the low 30s. Homelessness activists and city leaders alerted the administration to this issue and were advised that anyone in need could call the homeless crisis line. I tried calling that number over the weekend to get help for someone and got a recorded message saying that the homeless crisis line was open weekdays during normal working hours.
So much for transforming systems to serve those who need them.
And this is not the first instance of saying more and doing less, especially when it comes to the large and growing population of people experiencing homelessness in Richmond.
Read the full op-ed in Style Weekly here.
– Kim Gray for Mayor of Richmond