In Levittown, PA, where there is a lot of homelessness, a non-profit wants to build two, three-story apartment buildings on land owned by the Levittown-Fairless Hills Rescue Squad. There is a lot of constructive resistance to the project.
It’s fitting that the proposed affordable housing site is on the rescue squad property. People can be rescued from homelessness. People are homeless for various reasons. Many of the homeless work, but don’t have the upfront money for first and last month’s rent, a security deposit, and various fees. They just need a hand up.
There is a lot of vacant property and structures in the greater Levittown area which could be used for affordable housing.
This isn’t the first time roadblocks were put out to stonewall housing initiatives for the poor. In 2017, Interfaith Housing, a non-profit, which creates affordable housing for poor people in the greater Levittown area proposed buying the closed Maple Shade Elementary School in Bristol Township. Their plan was poo-pooed, just as was my proposal to a county commissioner to use public land to create a homeless camp/village a few years back.
I wonder if the township is going to do the same thing with other closed schools as they did to the historic Sunbury Farms off of Newportville Road. They demolished it! This historic building was structurally sound and just needed a little work to restore the place. People out of work could have easily restored the building, and could have even become guides if it could be turned into a museum.
The May 2, 2016 Levittownnow.com reports that Sunbury Farms was purchased by a builder. http://levittownnow.com/2016/05/02/sunbury-farm-property-purchased-by-builder/ Only about a month earlier, as reported in the Bucks County Courier Times, on March 30, 2016 Bristol Township Council President Craig Bowden said “It needs to be fixed up”, and added “the township has a wish that whoever buys it will return it to its ‘pristine condition.’”
Recently, a developer is making plans to convert a school into condominiums. http://levittownnow.com/2019/08/15/closed-st-anns-school-likely-to-be-converted-into-condos/
There is nothing wrong with selling condominiums. Just remember in days of old how the edges of fields were left unpicked for the poor. "When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God." -Leviticus 23:22
Spring, 2014, when I first started associating with the homeless in the greater Levittown area, a friend and I tried to start a non-profit in order to create shelter for the homeless. It floundered. We came to realize that the problem was not the ability to build. A formerly homeless friend to me he had a conversation with a nearby Bristol Borough businessman, who planned to create housing for the homeless, but as soon as the authorities discovered the project was for the homeless, it was stonewalled! Another businessman told me he had planned to provide housing and jobs for the homeless, but he too ran into obstacles. We came to realize the problem was prejudice against the homeless. Consequently, my friend set me up on a WordPress site where I tried to educate the public about the homeless and win people’s hearts and minds. The site, www.noroomintheinn.org, morphed into other issues close to my heart.
A few years later, I wrote a book to let people learn who the homeless really are, their struggles, and possible solutions to curb homelessness. I look closely at individuals who are homeless as well as scrutinize those institutions who say they help the homeless.