“If elected Mayor, I will emulate the Tacoma, Washington program,” says Columbus mayoral candidate Joe Motil
Joe Motil and micro homes

Joe Motil, former Columbus City Council candidate and longtime community advocate who is circulating petitions to run for mayor in the 2023 May primary election states, “Our current mayor and other city officials long lag behind current trends when addressing – if at all – Columbus’s homeless population. The city hands out millions of dollars to local non-profits who are never held accountable for spending our tax dollars. The then city washes its hands from the problem, claiming they have done their part by providing funding.”     

Motil continues, “In early spring of 2022, I was invited to the far southside Heer Park homeless encampment by the ‘Heer to Serve’ mutual aid group founder Mrs. Emily Myers. Shortly after my initial visit, the city ordered the residents of the encampment to vacate the city-owned property on which they had been staying on more than two years. On June 21, 2022, at about 8:00am, remediation crews arrived with dump trucks, front loaders and a small track hoe along with 20-25 police officers (5 of whom were in riot gear) and almost 20 police vehicles. The cost of the remediation alone was $41,296 and the cost of the unwarranted number of police was easily tens of thousands of dollars.”

Since 2019, the city has spent between $150,000 and $200,000 on bulldozing encampments. The city’s bulldozer diplomacy policy and removing police officers from our neighborhoods to oversee the removal of the unsheltered is inhumane, disgraceful, and misuse of tax dollars.”     

In early summer 2022, Joe Motil was invited by organizers of the First Collective social justice group to the near east sides Camp Shameless homeless encampment. He and four other members of the group protested on August 28, 2022, because of the lack of human services by city officials for the residents of the camp. The five set up tents in the front yards of City Council President Shannon Hardin, Councilwoman Shayla Favor and City Attorney Zach Klein. All five were arrested by police and four of them spent the night in jail for their non-violent act of civil disobedience. Motil is currently assisting a homeless advocate who supports the unsheltered at 3 different encampments in and around the University District. He also continues to volunteer with the Heer to Serve group.        

Motil continues, “Heer to Serve founder Emily Myers recently announced that starting January 9, she will work on a capstone project with OSU engineering students. They will create a prototype for emergency, sweep-proof micro shelters for folks who are unhoused.” 

In 2017, the Tacoma, Washington City Council declared a public health crisis related to homeless encampments. Nine different transitional housing micro shelters (tiny homes) are now located throughout the city. They provide security, hand washing stations, garbage services, bathroom facilities, electricity and potable water. Health services are also provided for residents.

Motil says, “If elected mayor, I will emulate the Tacoma, Washington program.”

Motil concludes, “The city earmarked $30 million from the recently approved $250 million affordable housing bond package to help address the needs of the homeless. A substantial portion of those funds should be used to begin to create transitional housing micro shelter villages around the city. Those dollars should also be utilized immediately to provide portable toilets, washing stations, and no less than 10-yard removable dumpsters that can be serviced properly at or near existing encampment sites. Reactionary and temporary solutions for our unhoused by our current mayor are no longer acceptable. We need viable plans and policies put into place and a mayor of the people who works with and understands the needs of our homeless.”