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Homeless situation in Norwalk is real

By Dennis Stieber • Updated Feb 8, 2019 at 8:05 AM

“The Cry of the Poor.”

This is a hymn sung in several churches when the theme of that Sunday’s service has to do with the poor and homeless. The poor are mentioned almost 450 times in the Bible, so most any Sunday you can hear a reference about them.

The hymn came to the front of my mind when I read a recent Facebook post about Carlos Snow, the great running back for Ohio State in the late 1980s and early 1990s. After a busted stint with the NFL he eventually became homeless due to his dependency on alcohol and prescription narcotics. He has spent many nights in his Toyota Camry. He currently is trying to get his life back together thanks to someone who believes in him and helping Snow work through his issues so that the Camry becomes a mode of transportation and not a means of living.

The hymn again came to mind when I read Joe Centers’ commentary on what people think should be done with the old fire station. Many of the responses leaned toward some type of eating establishment or entertainment facility; only a few mentioned the need for a homeless shelter or rehab center. I’m with those few.

I imagine the immediate response from some residents might be a loud gasp. A homeless/rehab center in the middle of our beautiful town? We can’t have these vagrants residing in our business district. Besides, how many people are actually homeless?

Well, I’m here to testify there are plenty of them and I see them nearly every day in my line of work. I am the finance manager for Norwalk St. Mary and Milan St. Anthony parishes. Next to my office at St. Mary’s is the office of our church’s St. Vincent DePaul society. They offer assistance to those who need help in utilities and rent. St. Paul also has one of these agencies. Several other religious denominations in town also lend assistance to these needs. Any of them can tell you I’m not stretching the truth. The need for a homeless shelter for men is particularly crucial.

Women who have been involved in abusive situations do have the Miriam House, run by Catholic Charities on West Main Street, which provides housing for them and their children. They are a wonderful organization who help women make them feel they are loved and are of worth. I’m sure there are more women in need than there is room, but the organization does a great job of helping out where they can.

But there is nothing for men here locally. That’s where the old fire station comes into play.

I do not have the legal mind, financial expertise or architectural know-how in figuring out how to make this all come about — but there are of those of you who do. Those in leadership positions in this community, both business and government, can help put the wheels in motion. I’m willing to be involved and lend help where I can. I just don’t know how to get it started. I’m hoping this article is the start.

I am willing to sit down and have serious discussions about how to accomplish this. I’m giving out personal information, which can be dangerous I know, to those who want to reach out to me. My e-mail is [email protected] My phone is 419-681-2883 and if you prefer to write a good old-fashioned letter, my address is 3 Chelsea Drive; Norwalk 44857.

The homeless situation is real in this city and in this county. I’m praying that you’ll become involved for the same reason I am … you’re hearing “The Cry of the Poor.”


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