Thursday, September 11, 2008

Two items of note

A couple of interesting articles involving issues dealing with homelessness and poverty with the first being that the Midtown Security Alliance called for a boycott of Whole Foods due to its decision to donate a portion of its sales to the Peachtree-Pine Homeless Shelter, and the outcry was so severe that the fundraiser was called off.

On the surface, this is rather offensive (and even when you dig a bit, it's still offensive), but there have been a list of noted problems involving the Peachtree-Pine Homeless Shelter. Since it serves as an overflow shelter in a major urban area, it primarily deals with chronic homeless individuals which typically means that population is more prone to deal with crime, mental illness, etc. It's a needed service, but it's also one that requires a considerable amount of attention and care, and this shelter didn't seem to be able to offer those types of services - or adequate shelter - and some individuals appeared to cause some problems for the community.

Now, this Atlanta Business Journal article traced some of those problems, but also showed how the shelter was attempting to get a handle on those challenges. In fact, it was hoping to develop a mixed-use, multi-purpose facility that could put those it served on a better path. It's unclear, though, whether or not the shelter was actually able to do a better job in policing its property or implementing the necessary changes in service delivery to do any good.

Just thought it was interesting.

Related to that, Atlanta is putting in meters for donations for the homeless a la Athens-Clarke County. It's not that I'm opposed to that by any means, it's just that I don't think it's terribly effective in deterring panhandling or encouraging giving.


Blogger Nicki said...

Playing devil's advocate here -- there has been a similar, but far smaller, outcry over the situating of various ministries and groups serving the homeless since time immemorial. There's also a similar issue with all nonprofits that serve, rather than minimize, their target groups. But I would argue that certain populations tend to have certain problems and it's not wrong to offer succor to those in need of it. While everybody's transitioning people to self-sufficiency and investing in job training and such, someone has to be helping to assure that people don't starve on the streets.

3:31 PM  

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