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City Now Invested In Homeless Issue

City leaders in Wheeling are now fully invested in the idea that throwing money at the area’s homeless problem will help it to go away.

City Council on Tuesday learned from City Manager Robert Herron that he had hired Amanda White, an employee of The Health Plan, to be Wheeling’s first homeless liaison. White will be tasked with solving the city’s growing issue of homelessness.

She will start her new post Sept. 20 and will have three years to make that happen, as council has agreed to fund the position during that time.

Just how will this new position solve the region’s homeless crisis? That’s a good question, as professionals who have studied the issue for years — including many who run homeless outreach organizations here in Wheeling — have yet to find a solution.

In her new role, White will work with other agencies in the city on the homeless problem. The idea initially came from Councilwoman Rosemary Ketchum.

“While there have been questions as to the necessity of this position, I don’t see a path forward where our homeless landscape is markedly improved without the city of Wheeling setting a tone, creating clear expectations and engaging local service and resource organizations in a healthy and proactive way,” Ketchum said in voting to create the position in July.

We wish White the best in her new role, and hope she can succeed where others have not.

That will be a tall task, but perhaps a city-led, coordinated effort to pool the area’s resources is what is needed to solve this problem.

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