I have a memo of sorts for all members of the council, incumbents and newly elected, and that is to remember who it is you serve.
You don’t just serve those who own their homes, but those who rent, those who have money, and those who barely scrape by. You serve those who live in the campground because they can’t afford to rent, and those who don’t even have that luxury. You serve those who can afford to pay mortgages and full rents, and those who live on Social Security and are blessed with Section 8 housing. You serve those who sit down to dinner every night, and those who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. You serve those who are articulate, savvy, and computer literate, and also those who live in their own personal hell and cannot function in “polite society.”
You serve the homeless, as well as the well-housed. They too, are your constituents. I would encourage you to get to know them, and not just pass them by on the street. They are not a problem to be solved—they are people. They have names, they have stories. Some can hold a nice conversation with you. Some can’t. Yes, some are addicts or alcoholics, but some are simply down on their luck and need a hand up, not a handout. Some have mental health issues or physical limitations. I encourage you to talk to them, to find out what their needs are, and to help where you can, because they are part of your responsibility too.