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Occupy Iowa City making progress helping the homeless

BY GUEST OPINION | FEBRUARY 09, 2012 7:20 AM

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There are a lot of people in the public and Iowa City government who are wondering what the hell is going on with Occupy Iowa City and the Occupation at College Green Park. As I am hereby just now deciding to reverse my termination of my being a member of Occupy Iowa City, I am making this public statement both to Occupy Iowa City and to the Iowa City Press Citizen and to The Daily Iowan, and I give my permission for them to publish this statement.

As a member of Johnson County Local Homeless Coordinating Board, my invitation from Occupy to speak to today's Homeless Board meeting was accepted by Steve Hoffelt, Dave Dunlap, plus Occupy IC supporter Dawn Jones — although as she works for University of Iowa downtown, she has domestic responsibilities where she lives south of Iowa City and cannot often attend Occupy activities and General Assemblies, although she has sometimes been able to.

What has changed my mind about quitting Occupy IC were the very diplomatic conversations to our board that Hoffelt, Dunlap, and Jones presented in behalf of Occupy IC and the homeless population. Let me emphasize in total honesty — and I have been a member of the Homeless Board for more than one year — that I have known these very important members of board, who are each in very influential positions in their various organizations, and that as members of the b, they all were very impressed with Occupy Iowa City due to some high quality presentations, and it is clear to me that this board has a new understanding and appreciation of the group now.

I will reiterate what I said in my Occupy IC proposal on Sunday, that this is the very first constructive effort that the group has made to create social change in a meaningful way; that although the marches and demonstrations and our Occupation of College Green Park have been essential in putting Occupy into the public eye; that for the first time, our local Occupy is working with a charitable establishment to make a start in changing the status-quo that keeps the homeless and the impoverished from living in a decent lifestyle; that we are actually doing something critical to correct the inflicted disadvantages that contemporary society has suffered by, under our modern technological, political, and economic upheaval.

Hoffelt, Dunlap and Jones are Occupy IC's perfect volunteer ambassadors to the Homeless Coordinating Board, as now the wheels are turning with board members beginning the "proactive" process of creating the essential preliminary data to pursue a "wet shelter" for the homeless or impoverished citizens of our society. Johnson County Local Homeless Coordinating Board has invited Occupy IC to join the board.

This is a major progress which potentially might develop into a regional model and a model for our entire state of Iowa, which may ultimately involve Iowa City and Johnson County and our state and maybe even the federal government in a new paradigm that Occupy IC initiated and influenced! And for that reason, I am going to dedicate myself to work both within Occupy and as a member of Homeless Board to advocate for a "wet shelter" which will serve responsive alcohol and/or drug dependent homeless and/or impoverished citizens in restructuring their lives.

Libris Fidelis is an Iowa City resident and member of Occupy Iowa City and various other local organizations.


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