Housing is a human right: Prioritizing people over profit

Anne Hirsch

Dear Editor:

My name is Anne Hirsch, and I am running for District 5 City Council.  I live in Lakewood Estates, and I want to weigh in on the issue of the proposed housing development by Boley on 54th Avenue South to house people who are dealing with mental health challenges and addiction.

Housing is a human right!  Self-determination is the highest form of democracy.

While some homeowners in our neighborhood have expressed concern that this project will decrease home values and create public safety issues, I, as a homeowner in Lakewood Estates, know I speak for many residents in District 5 when I say the most important thing is that we fight to ensure that every person in this city has a place to sleep at night.

Moreover, Eritha Akile’ Cainon, running for City Council District 7, and myself, running for District 5, have a plan to address these issues that will be to the benefit of the whole city, homeowners included.

Our platform begins with Unity Through Reparations — reparations to the black community!

Reparations will restore the ability of the poor and working-class black community to create economic development on its own terms. This will increase the city tax base and uplift the entire city.

The real path to public safety is when the people have the ability to feed, clothe and house themselves. We will restructure the city budget to make this possible.

Currently, one-fifth of the city budget goes to the police department. Our city just spent more than $84 million on a new police station. When we are elected, we will reprioritize the budget away from policing to a people-focused budget to increase the quality of life for all citizens.

A development located on 54th Avenue South to house people dealing with mental illness and addiction would be obligated to build dignified housing with building and maintenance requirements that would provide quality housing that the neighborhood could be proud of.  It would be compelled to provide enough staff to support residents rather than flood the community with the police!

We can do this! We must create a social movement!

We don’t have to accept the current status quo where some residents of the city exist at the expense of others.  We can create a model city where everyone can thrive!

When we are elected, St. Petersburg will be the first in a wave of cities across the country to pay reparations to the black community and from that starting point solve all the problems of the city!

We need you to be a part of it! You can donate, volunteer and vote on Aug. 27!

Go to votehirsch.com and voteakile.com right now!  Unity Through Reparations!

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