David Costello’s Nightmare

David Costello, an advocate and builder of free homes for the homeless, recently realized the nightmare that is the Des Moines city council. The man is retired, and although short on cash himself has embarked on a mission to single-handedly fight homelessness in the Des Moines area. City Council has ruled the structures against fire code, and has promptly destroyed the homes built for free for those that have nothing else.

They ruled that the huts that he had built, free of charge near the Des Moines River were to be torn down after an accident involving one of the homes burning and a man getting minor burns. The homes were torn down on Thursday of last week, in the middle of an Iowa Winter. I don’t know about the people reading this blog, but winters in Iowa are very cold. The huts, which were constructed from pallets and scrap lumber had windows, manufactured doors, and wood-burning stoves. Anyone who has camped knows that tents are really cold, and don’t offer much protection against the elements. Regardless, the City Council declared the shanties fire hazards and decided to bulldoze them.

David Costello stands among rubble

David Costello hugs Primary Health Care worker Deirdre Henriquez as homes are torn down. Photo courtesy of JOHN GAPS III/THE REGISTER

David, the man who freely built these homes was caught crying as the homes were turned to rubble. “There is so much need, and there is so much waste” said Costello as the homes were destroyed. Dwight Mericle, one of the homeless living along the river said “This really sucks, A whole lot of hard work went into this. We weren’t hurting anybody. It’s a lot harder living in a tent, but I was in a tent before I got my hooch ( the word described for the free homes ), so I guess I can do it again.”

John Menting crying after being told he will have to leave

Above: man weeps after being told by city authority he must leave JOHN GAPS III/THE REGISTER

My question is, why is the city council ruining everything that was done freely for the homeless? Must they waste money on bulldozers and putting these homeless up themselves when kindhearted people are doing it for free?

The Des Moines Register Article

The above video shows David Costello explaining the situation. JOHN GAPS III/THE REGISTER

2 thoughts on “David Costello’s Nightmare

  1. This is ridiculous. Incompetent authorities abound everywhere. The people of Des Moines should send the whole council to live outside to see how the homeless people are feeling. Then give the council’s homes to the homeless.

  2. I have commented before, but wish to respond to the city’s response in light of recent events.

    So the city of Des Moines is now willing to spend $48,000.00 to hire a consultant to “develop a homeless action plan”. Couldn’t this money have been used to help the homeless people that were just evicted? Why does it cost $48,000.00 to have someone draw up a “plan” that we all know amounts to nothing more than words on a piece of paper? Why not pay the homeless to help form a plan that works in their best interest and not just some pencil pusher who gets paid grossly inflated wages to type up a generic report telling us what we already know? It seems more than obvious that this is just another feeble attempt by our city officials at a “feel good” plan to salvage what little chance they have of seeking another term in office. Well, it’s too late to get my vote back. The actions taken against the homeless this week were inexcusable and shameful. Once again, government wastes piles of money on “research”, “plans”, and “committees” that ultimately
    go no further than putting words on paper. No one involved deserves the privilege of serving the city of Des Moines, or any other city for that matter.

    So here’s my plan. Hire a panel of homeless people to work with the city in drawing up a fair plan of action. Spend the remainder of the $48,000.00 to provide housing to the men who were wrongfully evicted this week. Cut the salaries of all high ranking city officials to help cover the costs of providing education and job placement for those who need it. Also, I am quite sure that there are federal programs that many of these people may be eligible for that they may either not know about, or not have the resources to apply for. Such as grants or military benefits, just to name a few.

    Now I am not asking that we just go hand out freebies. In order to receive these benefits, they will have to be required to follow through with employment or education provided. Many of these people are not “drunks”, “junkies”, or “bums”, as I have heard many refer to them as. Many of these people fell victim to a poor economy and simply lost their jobs and their homes. Many do not have family here, or perhaps their families don’t have the means to help. Many may even be too proud to ask for help. It is a very demeaning feeling to have lost everything, and must feel equally as demeaning to have to ask for someone else’s help. I myself have been laid off from the job I held for nearly 15 years, and am barely getting by. I’m not homeless, but I know I could easily be one more stroke of bad luck away.

    The economy is bad, and it’s only going to get worse. And the homeless situation is only going to grow as the economy continues to fail. If we don’t start doing something now, you or I might be next. While there is no total “cure all” solution in these dire economic times fueled by greed and handouts to the rich, there are most certainly better ways we can be handling this. Just think how many homeless or poor people we could help with the hundreds of billions of dollars already being handed out to big businesses that were run into the ground by greedy, wasteful CEOs. Why is it that the government is so willing to throw money to those who are already rich, and not help out those in need? One word…. “Lobbyists”.

    It’s high time we as Americans suck it up and demand that government officials and corporate “fat cats” take responsibility and take a pay cut. Laying off thousands each and every day while these bums collect six and seven figure incomes is disgraceful, as well as should be illegal. When blue collar workers aren’t doing an effective job, they are fired. But when big business CEOs and politicians aren’t doing their jobs, they blame someone else. And ultimately, the fecal matter rolls down hill, and the blue collar worker takes the fall. Stand up America! It’s time we take our country back!

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