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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Really helping the homeless

The Tennessean addressed the issue of homelessness downtown today in today's issue. Local blogger Kevin Barbieux responded with some words of wisdom:

"[T]hankfully, we all are quickly re-learning that harassing the homeless, shooing them away, or trying to sweep them under the proverbial rug, just doesn't get the results we want...

Hopefully, everyone will quickly get to the point of admitting that the best thing for everyone, the only true workable solution, is to give the services to the homeless that will actually lead to them getting off the streets and on to better lives.

The Rescue Mission has been on operation for more than 50 years, the Campus For Human Development for 20 years, and yet have we seen any real change in the homeless plight by these organizations? A new approach is needed, such as could become reality if the Nashville Homelessness Commission would actually achieve it's goals. The best hope for all concerned lies with the Commission. If somebody would light a fire under their collective rear-ends, we'd see some real and positive changes taking place."
I'm familiar with both the Mission and the Campus, and I think they do meaningful and important work. Kevin has a good point, though: There is still a sizable homeless population in Nashville that needs help despite all of this good work. My question to him and in general is what are these "real and positive changes" that are needed? Affordable housing often comes up quickly in discussions about the homeless, but what would that look like specifically? What specifics might help the problem that aren't currently in place?

The quote of the day, in my opinion, comes from guitar manufacturer George Gruhn, who is quoted in the Tennessean story: "When someone's sleeping at my back door and defecating there, do I like it? No." I'd have to agree with that.

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