At a recent city commission meeting, Commissioner Marlon Bolton revealed a deeply personal fact about himself. He was once homeless, and he told no one. “Some years ago, for three long nights, I slept under a bridge without anything to my name. I didn’t have a place to stay, I had no food, and no one to turn to during that very hard time. I slept under a bridge with nothing but the clothes on my back, waiting for someone to come and help me.” Bolton said in an email to residents.
“I don’t remember everything that happened to me, but I remembered how I felt at that moment — alone and afraid,” he added.
Commissioner Bolton explains that this is the story of American Homelessness. He said that Homelessness is a serious problem that must be addressed boldly and with unity. “When people hear the word “homelessness” they often think of irresponsible people who are addicted to drugs and mentally ill. Nothing could be further from the truth,” he added.
Today, the rising costs of housing have put many hardworking people one paycheck away from homelessness, contributing to a nationwide problem that many policymakers refuse to tackle. This isn’t a mental health crisis; this is a public health crisis and must be addressed as such, his email further outlined.
Bolton said homelessness is not a partisan issue; it is not a sound-bite, it is an important and life-changing event that “we can and must tackle.”
The tearful revelation came after the Commission discussed a developer’s plan to donate $500,000 toward homelessness and charity in the City of Tamarac. Mayor Michelle Gomez said she was uncomfortable with receiving the donation that would go toward charity and addressing homeless issues in the City. The developer explained that the donation was out of the goodness of his heart, later the members of the Commission thanked him for his generosity.