We were approached via phone yesterday by a reporter (who happened to find us with a Google search!) who was doing her research on the heat we were having on Wednesday & how it affects the homeless!
While we gave a broad view of the homeless & this heat in Savannah we thought we’d be called back for an interview as alluded to.
We don’t offer any direct solutions or services ourselves either & that’s likely what they were looking for, the feel good side of the issue – we presented a balanced perspective with the realities of Day Centers coming, housing being a priority need (that others aren’t supporting – see below more about Housing First) & the overall bigger picture on this heat we experience in Savannah as it relates to the affects on the homeless population here!
However, when the story aired, the storyline was two-fold, one about the elderly, Senior Citizens & the fans being distributed to them with a plea for donations for getting more fans!
The second piece of the story was about a local shelter, not named here on purpose, that claims to allow the homeless (implied any time it’s extremely hot & under no conditions) inside to partake of the cooler air, ice & water, oh & to watch TV!
Unfortunately that is a claim that can’t be substantiated completely – as I did call one of our local homeless, currently housed until he can’t raise the rent this week, who offered he was not aware of such & thought it was restricted to those currently in a program at the shelter, not anyone walking in off the streets or maybe those let in to take a shower under normal operating conditions. I.E., not a fully functional cooling center, operating without restrictions or conditions!
While many communities are really serious about “Cooling Centers” during the hot times (those are also the ones who have serious commitments to warming centers too) even in parts of the country known more for their cold weather. we in Savannah should not lay claim to a coordinated or completely truthfully run “program” that addresses this need!
We truthfully expect our homeless to find their own cooling solution! Go to the Library, sneak in a shaded area, sit in the shade in a park or square, hope somebody offers them a cold bottle of water (hydration is the biggest need!).
So, the question becomes, do we need cooling centers in Savannah?
This is NOT what we mean by Cooling Centers!
So, as we look at issues with programs at the Homeless Authority (who has a Hydra Hope [water distribution] program by the way – look it up on their website to see the focus of fund-raising for programs that don’t address cooling centers or anything new to approach the chronic homeless needs here – like Housing First for example, our pet project!) we feel compelled to bring this reality check to your local blog, newspaper & news outlets…
BTW, Housing First saves taxpayers money too! Learn more at our website above where there’s a presentation & an Executive SUmmary of the programs we are developing!
The solution is Housing First by the way! Get them off the streets, housed & then they will be more likely to address their “issues” that keep them homeless!