Savannah-Chatham Metro Police say homeless people who are living under the Truman Parkway have been piling up trash for at least five years — and it started to become a health hazard.
While there is no question that this was needed we need to ask a few questions!
For instance, why did it take so long to address trash issues where the homeless live?
We can & must do better! Better making the conditions they live in more humane & sanitary, more to move them out of there with a solution to their housing & providing the proper services!
We are addressing this now with a Housing First Savannah project, under development! Check out http://housingfirstsavannah.com & connect on the solution!
This event as well as the recent letter to the Downtown Neighborhood Association membership simply point to the need for dialog with the people who can & are developing solutions that are outside of the traditional offerings!
With the comments made in other interviews regarding this cleanup on other stations we must get ahead of these activities & engage the community on the solutions!
Other questions that could be part of this dialog could revolve around:
- What are the City’s plans for the Homeless Authority? (formally known as Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless)
- What do the SCMPD see as their role in ending homelessness?
- (Will they see value in the solutions we are putting together?)
- What is the role of the Faith Community in developing solutions to chronic homelessness (as well as women, children, family & youth homelessness as well)?
- Can other organizations in the community come to the table & become stakeholders in addressing solutions to homelessness?
We have been advocating for this ever since we started our Advocacy, have participated in national organizations conferences, even lobbied on Capital Hill.
We stated in our very first interview in October 2010 that it is not just the job of the service providers, government agencies including the City, County, State & Federal governments to solve the problem.
It is a community & personal issue, meaning we are called as people of faith or concern for humanity to be a part of the solution.
We are not for enablement & making it comfortable to remain homeless. While there is a need to meet physical needs, it is also not the way to end homelessness by itself.
Our participation in street ministries has shown us this in spades.
We have seen other communities “criminalize homelessness”! We have seen them hire consultants (with agendas) to “design” a solution, enact ordinances to make their solutions “work” & then cut out the very people who can help by building what essentially is an extension to a jail (run by jailers) that has no bars but looks & is seemingly run in a jailer mentality.
The characteristics of the services put together in these other communities are the same services that were available before. Assuming that you bring the homeless together in demoralizing conditions, not any better for their spirits than loving on the streets & expect the same services to help them out of their homelessness is like doing the same thing & expecting different results!
We on the other hand in Savannah have a model for services that will transform the healing process, enable renewal & recovery with accountability that is humane & sensible.
We now have an approach for housing, using the Housing First model, that will transform what is a broken system of cyclic shelter residence & street living into a sustainable program of housing & services that have been proven in other communities that have adopted the 100,000 Homes Campaign model of Housing First, with innovation on their approach to services that will put Savannah on the map!
But more importantly we will show that the homeless deserve these solutions & can move out of their homelessness with a new sense of success & self worth, more likely to remain housed!
- 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)
- The battle in Pinnelas, Clearwater & all over the US for what the solution for chronic homelessness should be: it’s Housing First guys not upscale prison units (homelessnessinsavannah.wordpress.com)