An Open Letter to the Citizens of Savannah, GA regarding Homelessness in Savannah

Please Note: This is the original Open Letter, sent in Nov, 2010, after our initial introduction to this organization when it held a meeting on Homelessness with the then Exec Director of the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless & the Captain of the Downtown Precinct from SCMPD, Capt. Mike Wilkins!

We have since created a page dedicated to being able to present more Open Letters on various topics as the need arises. You may access this collection of Open Letters or by clicking on the Open Letter Tab on the menu bar!

The following was sent to the President of the Downtown Neighborhood Association last night (11/10/10). It follows up our attendance at their quarterly meeting on 11/9/10 where the topic was “Homelessness, taking a 360 degree look” (paraphrased).

In attendance were their members, several City Council Alderpersons, fresh off of their Budget Meetings & fast to point out that the City isn’t able to do more for the homeless situation in Savannah (also paraphrased – however, please note that they already do a LOT & all that they do is very much appreciated by the homeless population in Savannah). There were also representatives of the City who have been convening others in the city interested in the effects on Tourism of the Homeless people in Savannah.

The leading speakers at the event (invited) were Mark Baggett, Executive Director of the Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless & the Precinct Captain of the Downtown SCMPD Precinct.

It was pointed out that the DNA also contributes some of its fund raising dollars to various homeless service providers in the community, so we are very grateful to see their level of interest in the homeless population in Savannah being shown this way!

The discussions were lively & represented the concerns of the neighbors with issues they see by living in downtown Savannah. There were several very positive comments with ideas for solutions to help alleviate the problems caused to the neighbors with a few worthy of followup. We are hoping to play a role in the followups & also be able to share our ideas, based on the realities of homelessness from the perspective of the people who are experiencing it, in order to develop actionable projects geared towards helping all concerned.

We waited until the end of the meeting to share our comments, brief & succinct around the fact that we were there representing their Homeless Neighbors! The comments were short because their meeting was ending but yet we wanted to let them know that the Advocacy existed & we were here to help raise the homeless out of their situation. We established with the attendees that we are also focused on “Advocating, Educating, Collaborating & Organizing Around Loving the Homeless“.

We truly appreciate the opportunity to be a part of your groups meeting & participate in your quest to understand the issues of homelessness in Savannah.

I’m sorry that y’all didn’t have the time to hear the powerful stories of Howard Jackson, the gentleman who sat beside me during the meeting. His message would have been shared thru the device I was working with there.

Also, Steven Ware has a great story of his experiences being homeless in Savannah.

The information that I have shared so far on the blog, linked to below in the signature block, will hopefully be of value to you & your group in understanding the issues of homelessness as well as begin to delve into some material on the programs & approaches that have been undertaken in other communities that we are studying to apply here in Savannah.

I have already put together several events, all represented below in the signature block & written about on the blog as well.

Howard Jackson has a website & blog (under development on the website) as well:

Howard has plans as we also do to gather the stories of the homeless in Savannah – as it has been shown that in order to erase many of the stereotypes and allow people to have a more personal understanding of homelessness, the use of social media, blogs & videos helps allow a personal connection to be made & maybe even help others identify with the situations that are causing people to become homeless.

There is also a book that has just been released titled “Open Our Eyes: Seeing the Invisible People of Homelessness” (with a Facebook page & a brand new article on Huffington Post about the book) that I would highly recommend. The book was put together to showcase the efforts of another advocate, Mark Horvath, who has gone around the country soliciting stories from homeless people & put them on a website, (which was showcased on the home page of YouTube on that fateful Sunday, 8/21/10, the same Sunday that the SMN had a front page article on chronic homelessness in Savannah!). We commented on the SMN website & wrote a blog post that day attempting to change the focus of the discussion to the other realities that exist in the homeless situations in Savannah.

We hope that we can begin a conversation in Savannah around helping the homeless people in Savannah to raise themselves up out of their condition with programs built from the ground up, by the community for the community – as I have shared on the blog we are homeless but not hopeless.

Our focus, as related in the interview by WSAV on World Homeless Day on 10-10-10, is to seek other stake holders than the social services, government & traditional agencies focused on homelessness, including the faith community to engage in developing alternative, creative & sustainable solutions to end homelessness.

We seek through this Advocacy not to just house the homeless in shelters but to enable them to become housed with meaningful employment. Many have skills that they just aren’t able to use & others need to develop new skills & be given a chance to prove themselves.

Our advocacy seeks to engage the community (including the faith-based sector) in a dialog about the solutions to homelessness in several specific ways & will seek to enable finding solutions together, empowering the homeless to seek a better life, the community to reduce the stigma of homelessness & to attempt to provide alternatives to those who seem to be impacting the community.

Please let us know if we may be of service to your organization & if we can help in any way with the issues your group raised last night & are considering in the future regarding homelessness.

We are establishing relationships with the City, service providers & social service agencies as well as the Tourism business community to help raise awareness & generate solutions collaboratively that meet the needs of all concerned with these issues, including the homeless community themselves.

We had other comments prepared to make last night & welcome the opportunity to share them in greater detail in whatever way would meet the needs of your organization or others copied on this email.

Thanks for your time & your interest in homelessness,


Marvin Heery

912.659.0696 m
678.632.HOME (4663) o
HomelessnessInSavannah Skype v (Google Voice)
Homelessness Advocacy Blog e
Twitter HIS Facebook – Friend us here! HIS Facebook Page – Like us here! Youtube Slideshare Flickr Our Fund-raising Blog
Google Profile Our Daily Twitter Newspaper
Our “spread” @ Pinknic in the Park – 10-3-10
World Homelessness Day in Savannah Event (10-10-10, Sunday, 8pm, Sentient Bean, 13 E Park Ave, Savannah, GA 31401)
Watch the WSAV Story on recognizing WHD in Savannah (10-10-10) e for GTH Project
“Geek the Homeless” – an independent project brought to you by:
Homelessness in Savannah, An Advocacy promoting Loving the Homeless.
Check out our Project for Geekend 2010 (Savannah, Nov 4-6, 2010) “Geek the Homeless” The conversation (Tweet-athon) starts Nov 4 – tweeting with #geekthehomeless #geekend2010 @geekend2010 @geekthehomeless #wearevisible #livelove @wearevisible @projectlivelove
Please see our blog post describing the “Geek the Homeless” Project @Geekend2010, our Facebook Page for “Geek the Homeless” & it”s Twitter Page

Advocating, Educating, Collaborating & Organizing around the Issues of Homelessness
Promoting Loving the Homeless while ending homelessness in Savannah, GA & beyond…

About homelessnessinsavannah

Advocating for Homelessness Issues in Savannah, GA, so that we can educate, share experiences & generate a Christian understanding of the issues & people who experience, support & attempt to end homelessness in Savannah, GA or anywhere else we can share stories from or about...
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11 Responses to An Open Letter to the Citizens of Savannah, GA regarding Homelessness in Savannah

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