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Ask more of county services

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we woke to the news that Ms. Monica Cannady and two of her three children died from hypothermia in Pontiac.

How much more tragedy will it take for Oakland County to invest in its necessary services and valued citizens?

Per Sheriff Bouchard’s statement, Ms. Cannady and her family weren’t able to access adequate mental health services. We have neglected to adequately fund those services.

According to news reports, overgrown parks and empty lots became hiding spaces during her crisis. We have neglected to maintain these spaces.

Had initial reports that Ms. Cannady was unhoused been accurate, shelter space would not have been available for her. We have neglected to fund and subsequently hold accountable our social service agencies in Oakland County.

During the past several months, I’ve seen firsthand how hard it is to get housing services here in Oakland County. Community Housing Network states on their website that call volume is so large that one can’t expect to receive a call back about help with housing for five to eight business days. Lighthouse of Oakland County did not return calls to a unhoused family I worked with for over a week. There was no one to help this family, and nowhere for them to go but a hotel paid for by people like you and me who are just trying to keep families safe and warm this winter.

Please join me in asking for more and better from our Oakland County government. We need to use our resources to invest in our citizens - especially those in crisis. We must end the perception that small donations to social service organizations can solve the crisis of homelessness in Oakland County and think bigger.

We must begin to reimagine what it would look like if we invested enough resources that we could offer assistance to a neighbor like Ms. Cannady in her time of need. Our elected officials have the power to do more. It’s time to demand it of them.

Contact your county commissioner today and request investment and accountability in order to solve the crisis of homelessness in Oakland County.

Julie Gibbs



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