Joe Motil

City of Columbus Mayoral candidate Joe Motil states, “ The last of the three 24/7 warming shelters that were created to remain open from mid-December until March 15 closes its doors tomorrow.” The Community Development for All People on the city’s south side made an announcement today stating, “The city of Columbus has unexpectedly terminated its funding for winter overnight warming centers. Community Development for All People is one of the recipients of that funding, and as a result of the city’s decision, the last night of our warming center will be Thursday February 23. We do not support the city’s decision. We are concerned for the impact it will have on the community members that have been staying with us each night and for the staff who worked so hard to make our warming center a safe and welcoming place. Columbus must have a better safety net for those experiencing homelessness.”     

Motil underscores, “On December 5, 2022, Columbus City Council allocated $595,000 to the Community Shelter Board to support these community warming centers with about $130,000 of those funds going towards providing meals for individuals at the warming centers. Only two months later, still in the middle of winter with storms on the way, the 24-hour warming centers are closed.”

Motil continues, “Ginther, and his self-promoting slogan spouting ways, has no idea what to do regarding the needs of our unsheltered. He only writes checks, pushes them across his desk, and pays no attention to the consequences. As an advocate for our city’s unsheltered and someone who has visited encampments, spoken to, and assisted their residents, and who learns from professionals what their needs are, I propose a more comprehensive plan that will help address the continuing needs for warming centers and transitional housing.”

It includes:

1. The creation of an Office of Transitional Housing that will oversee my “Housing First” initiative.

2.  Funding the initiative with federal (HUD), state, county and city dollars. It will also require the support of corporate sponsorships, our local social and public health agencies, and faith-based organizations and congregations., all working together on truly shared goals for the community as a whole.  

3.  Constructing Tiny Home Communities consisting of perhaps 20-30 150 square foot units with each one containing a dormitory style refrigerator, wall heaters, cots with mattresses, fire extinguisher, and storage for clothing and necessities. Each community will provide security, hand washing stations, garbage services, bathroom facilities, electricity, a centralized kitchen, potable water and public health support services.

4.  Constructing new and/ or rehabilitated multiple-unit dwellings for transitional public housing.

5.  Providing those living in encampments, portable toilets and 10-yard dumpsters until residents can be relocated into transitional housing.

6.   The city will construct its own warming centers. These facilities will be utilized for other purposes during off months.

7.  Contractual agreements will be signed with hotels to lease rooms for short-term transitional housing if needed.

8.  The Office of Transitional Housing will also be responsible for administering a Municipal ID program.     

9.  Create a 24/7 Harm Reduction Shelter Center specifically designated for those who are suffering from substance abuse disorders.  

Motil concludes, “A record number of evictions were filed in Franklin County in 2022, with almost 21,000 people losing their homes. That is a 41 percent increase from 2021 when 13,500 were evicted. In addition, 2,694 students in Franklin County were reported as homeless last year.”

“Our homeless situation worsens daily. Ginther’s failure to address any of this during his 15 years as a City Councilman and Mayor is a public embarrassment to Columbus. In contrast,  my 'Housing First' initiative is a humane step in the direction of remaking the city to serve of its residents.”