Many in the City are still recovering from the recent financial crisis, leaving countless men and women without jobs and without a means to provide for their families. Understandably, in such situations, times become too tough and those hit hardest are sometimes left without a roof over their heads.
Such is life for many of the families now residing at the Pan American Hotel in Elmhurst.
The Dept. of Homeless Services may have handled the decision to house homeless individuals at the hotel improperly, but the actions of the protesters earlier this week were shocking, and showed a callous lack of compassion.
With unemployment still high and the job market still recovering, many of these families need that shelter in order to help create a better life, not just for themselves, but for their children. Without a roof over their heads, it is almost impossible to find even the most basic employment. Without a roof over their heads, education suffers. Without a roof over their heads, these children are just as likely to be left in the same situation when they become adults.
Is it not better for these homeless families to be housed in what was an empty hotel building, where they have an opportunity to sleep somewhere other than a park bench, a subway car or on the street? Would we rather these children have no roof over their heads, no bed to sleep in or no room where they can do homework?
These families deserve better than to have a mob of people yelling at them to leave or to find a job. They likely already feel like second-class citizens. There was no reason for protesters to take their frustrations with the Dept. of Homeless Services out on the individuals seeking shelter at the empty hotel. The actions of those protesters were abhorrent, and those families who are now housed at the Pan American deserve no less than an apology, not just from that mob, but from the local officials who allowed it to happen.