I believe you should know who I am, where I've been, and what I stand for. Obviously, I didn't just "pop up" in Sandusky so let me tell you a little about myself.
I was born in Washington, DC 50 years ago. I was adopted at eight months of age by a loving Christian couple and raised to love God and serve my fellow human beings. My dad once told me that "if you aren't living a life of service, then you aren't really living!" I have found that to be true.
During my teenage years, like most young people, I rebelled and left home because I wanted to do things my way. Through several years of self-inflicted pain, God showed me how very much He loved me and like the prodigal son, I returned home to forgiving and loving arms. At that moment, I fell on my knees and asked God to forgive me and take control of my life. My years in the driver's seat had proven unsuccessful and I recommitted my life to Jesus Christ. I praise God every day for all He has done and continues to do in my life. I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a sister, an aunt and a friend, but more important than any of those, I am Redeemed!
Every Commission meeting begins with Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance a time honored priviledge and tradition. Though many have tried, it is impossible to seperate ourselves from our utter dependence on God in our public and private lives. It is clearly evidenced by our national state of crisis and our local state of chaos, that now, more than ever before in history, do we need to ask for God's help and direction. There are more churches in Sandusky than anything else so our spiritual dependence is clear. I am calling upon all people of faith to stand up and let your voices be heard. We know the power of prayer and we know the wondrous joys awaiting our City and our Citizens if only we acknowledge Him first! (II Chronicles 7:14)
I moved to Sandusky in 1992 as a full-time resident. Since that time, I have actively participated in organizations, groups and projects that have served the general community. I do not seek recognition or acknowledgment for these things because that has never been a motive. Just know that during my entire time here, I have quietly worked behind the scenes to help make Sandusky a better place to live for all residents.
I have recently come out of the shadows because the direction the City is taking is disturbing and God has called me to action. We must redirect ourselves and refocus our attention to the people of this community. It is no secret that times are difficult for everyone. Historically, it is the people that have no voice that suffer the most and it is the ordinary citizen that is often overlooked, discounted and disenfranchised. I am an ordinary citizen, like most of you, with an extraordinary vision that we can make our collective voices be heard and make a positive difference in our community. I make no secret that I am an Erie Metropolitan Housing Authority (EMHA) client and I reside in public housing with my family. In 1997, I was blessed to receive a voucher to help subsidize my rent while I was continuing my college education. Two years later, we were offered our current home to purchase; we accepted and moved in. Through no fault of the current administration, the program was cancelled and we were left holding a mortgage approval in one hand and a EMHA Promissory Note in the other. We have stayed because through the years, we believe God used us to make a positive impact on our neighborhood and we sponsor the Hancock Street Block Party every year. My husband and I would like to think that in some small way, we have helped to make the Hancock Street area a better place to live and work.
The truth is that EMHA clients have been degraded long enough. This city has over 6,000+ rentals. EMHA has approximately 837 Section 8 Vouchers in use within the City limits, and owns and manages 108 scattered sites including 137 units at Bayshore Towers. In reality, EMHA controls roughly a mere 17% of the housing stock in the city; the remaining 83% is privately held. EMHA clients are easy targets for blame because it is assumed that we are poor, uneducated people with no motivation, just "living off the system." Nothing could be further from the truth. What you may not know is that most all EMHA clients work, go to school or participate in community service programs as a requirement for program participation. We are judged as a whole, by the actions of a few, which is unfair. Circumstances in life can change in an instant as many people are discovering in our current economic downturn. May we ever be mindful that "but for the Grace of God, there go I" before we criticize and blame others for our lot in life.
As we seek to build a new model for Sandusky, restore ourselves to a place of honor, and live a life of worth and value, may we never forget that the bonds that unite us are stronger than those that would tear us apart! May God Bless you and your Families!
Very truly yours,