Presentation available on Google Docs (Drive) for view & comment as well!
It seems obvious that this criminalization effort in Columbia SC is mostly financially driven. Look at this presentation & observe the mention of property relocations & property value.
It’s also positioned as an economic development issue as attracting business to Columbia is expected to be affected because of the homeless being in the downtown area – existing business & residents are being quoted as concerned as well.
Where are the needs & desires of the homeless represented in the “Impact” statements shown in this presentation?
This ordinance is going to be subject to legal action for sure as mentioned in other articles
posted yesterday. It has been called the most egregious effort to criminalize the homeless & other than St Pete FL’s “Safe Harbor” approach seems a very inhumane approach.
Note: It does seem like there’s lots of frustration with efforts to date on homelessness in Columbia so this ordinance seems driven from those outside who are affected by homelessness in their community & seems to lack input from others who might want to advocate for Housing First models there. Housing these homeless folks seems to be furthest from the goals – shelters are fine for their homeless, NOT housing (first) it seems!
The approach (solution) is to move shelters outside of downtown, forceably transport homeless found in the downtown to that new shelter space, curtail downtown feedings (forcing them to go inside) & prohibiting the homeless from going back into town (with police presence).
The investments are laid out & a significant “donation” from one organization (faith-based shelter provider) is presented. It amazes us that no discussion of housing first & using those funds to provide new services & housing that will save taxpayers money & reduce the need for shelter space for those who are housed is perplexing.
We don’t seem to be heading this way in Savannah but we are very concerned because our City hosted a delegation from Columbia SC recently (this summer) & to see where they ended up we are concerned & are reaching out now to determine what message we gave as a community, elected officials & service providers (who met with this delegation) when they visited about our views, plans & ongoing efforts to deal with homelessness in our downtown historic district!
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