The question at hand is, which one of the two videos below provides a place you’d like to “Occupy”?
Take a look at these two videos:
Pinellas Safe Harbor
To me on first glance, Pinnelas Safe Harbor is an upscale prison housing unit!
Your thoughts are welcome, but make sure you view both videos & even the longer response from the Clearwater Homeless Advocate included below!
If their high-priced consultant, Robert Marbut, had taken the broader view of what was best for the homeless people in the FL area he has consulted in he would have brought a more robust, compassionate solution to the table, Housing First!
I’m sorry Pinnelas County, compassion is not a mat on a concrete slab, lined on the floor (like a crime scene’s dead body laying there) to delineate a persons “space”!
Comparing that alternative to sleeping on a piece of cardboard is not a big step up, sorry for that, but it’s how a lot of homeless will perceive this option.
The seeming allusion of openness & transparency when you look outside at barbed wire & not being sure of operational “freedoms” this is simply looking like an upscale prison unit without bars on the “cells”!
Show the solution being lived in, with the typical day-in-the-life-of a homeless person living here!
Show the “hope” in their eyes because of what you have created! If you can’t see hope in their eyes that their hopelessness has been addressed simply because you have moved them off the streets that you are trying to beautify then you haven’t created an option they can truly “invest” themselves in. If they aren’t invested then the change you desire (giving them the same traditional services, albeit maybe in one place now), they won’t likely be invested in their own change either! Where’s the sustainability in that you must ask yourselves!
And if the community leaders in the room for the “grand opening” were led thru a more compassionate lens, with the Faith community really at the table in a truly inclusive, broad way, the solution they were opening would likely be drastically different!
Was there a homeless person at the table designing this Safe Harbor? Jailers don’t usually ask the “jailed” how they would like to be served!
And THEN, to criminalize homelessness so you could drive the homeless to this “solution” is paramount to making this new facility a “jail” for sure since there is no alternative to housing when the homeless can’t be on your streets any more!
Attempting to legislate a solution to homelessness is not the answer! We hope for more compassionate, enlightened responses in other communities, like Savannah, GA – where we see great signs of tolerance & diversity emerging with the recent United Savannah Tolerance Summit proposed follow-ups & outcomes!
It’s really as simple as that!
However, we have an in-between solution to be brought to the table in Savannah!
We have a plan being developed to provide housing for the chronic homeless via an interim, housing inventory producing strategy, that will get our people housed while a more involved Housing First model can be developed & supported by the community as a whole!
Stay tuned, we anticipate an L3C, social entrepreneurial effort to be undertaken to produce this new inventory of housing, creating jobs & a sustainable model along the way!
And with an innovative approach to running the “facility” that inspires change in people, taking “social service” to a more responsive collection of aligned, inspired & inspiring services.
We hope to be providing a video or animation of the proposed interim housing solution, portable around the community to meet the communities needs & interests in neighborhood development. [And, NO it's not more tent cities]
You see, the community has just as much or maybe more responsibility to be a part of the solution! No longer can they relegate responsibility to an unknown, unaccountable entity charged with ending homelessness!
We have said many times that all sectors of the community (here in Savannah that means the Chamber, United Way, Tourism & Faith sectors) MUST be at the table, equally responsive & engaged with creating the solution that Savannah as a whole can support!
Now back to Clearwater:
Then there’s the feet on the street response from a local homeless advocate, Cynnthia Johnson! Be prepared, it’s unedited (the real deal) & is about an hour long!
- Clearwater considers ‘sitting’ ban to curb homeless (tbo.com)
- City welds shut bathroom doors to keep out homeless… (clearwater.wtsp.com)
- Will Savannah end up here too or will the faith community step up & be a part of the solution?: Economic Justice Petition: Stop criminalizing our homeless | Change.org (homelessnessinsavannah.wordpress.com)