Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Columbia's Homeless

It was brave of the coalition of Business leaders, Pastors, Service Providers that the State Reporter said to the city "Thanks, but no thanks" to that property down by the river to build their new one stop service center.

This is a contentious issue in this city between the various neighborhoods, business districts, and community organizations -- and our city doesn't have the spine to address the issue lest someone not get reelected. Political posturing when we need leadership.

Personally, I'm a resident of one of the neighborhoods across Elmwood and I'm in favour of the service center where these folks are suggesting -- the current salvation army center at Elmwood and Main. Is it the gateway to our city? Yes. Does it say something about our city. Yes. But it depends completely on your perception.

I'm actually shocked by the folks in my neighborhood who are expressing such vitriolic outrage in locations such as Reformation Lutheran Church because they believe that building the center in that particular location will be like leaving the cattle pen open.

Something people need to come to terms with is that homelessness is a systemic problem. Anecdotal evidence says, most homeless are not violent people. Homeless folks are not gang members and very few are hardened criminals on the run, in fact homeless are more likely to be attacked by gang bangers and criminals because they're easy targets. Most homeless people are the mentally disturbed either naturally or from external stimuli -- PTSD in the case of our homeless veterans and alcoholism and drug addiction in case of others. Unfortunately the State isn't going to raise the funds to assist these people in the manner in which they need assistance -- and especially not South Carolina where we've got a huge budget deficit and the prevailing idea to fixing things is not only to "trim spending" but slash taxes even more.

It's time for people to get together and agree to disagree and work in those veins where they can put aside their differences and work towards solutions.

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