Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Plan for homeless stirs debate

Photo courtesy
There was little comment when, nearly a year ago, Bayview Footprints first reported that the City hoped to put 100 beds for homeless people in an industrial space that once housed an auto repossession business next door to Mother Brown's (2111 Jennings Street).

Now, as community-based advocates and City leaders pursue approval from the City Planning Commission for the plan, concerns are emerging.

The debate falls along increasingly familiar lines in this rapidly changing neighborhood. Progressive social justice advocates, once more confident of grassroots support when it came to helping groups of people in need, now face steepening opposition from investors, longtime residents who once stayed quiet, and newer residents who hold a different vision for the neighborhood.

For some neighborhood residents, especially new arrivals, it is mystifying that leaders ever prioritized the needs of people who seem to diminish the quality of life for everyone else.

Other residents, especially long-timers, are braced against a tide that seems to be eroding a cultural cornerstone. They are anxious about losing a place where vulnerable populations of people have found a foothold since the early days of European immigrants.

The plan to add 100 beds in a two-level, newly-leased building is stimulating debate even though homeless folks have been "sleeping" next door (upright in chairs) for years.

Neighborhood service providers continue to do what they can for what is a growing and aging population of homeless people. If you know someone who needs help, consider the resources Footprints has rounded-up from various sources.

No comments: