Monday, November 28, 2005

Just What Wilmingtion Needs

From WWAY TV 3

Wilmington considers plan to shelter homeless
Nov 28, 2005, 04:18 PM

It's a new way of thinking about an age old problem. Researchers say governments could save money by giving homeless people a permanent place to live. They say that's a better option than paying to manage them as they live on the streets.

It's a 10-year plan to eliminate homelessness and hundreds of cities and counties from across the country are buying into it. The Wilmington area alone has a homeless population that's in the hundreds.

Most of the homeless qualify for subsidized housing, but with a two-year waiting list for programs like Section 8, many of them find themselves in emergency shelters or out on the streets.

Bill Sherman is homeless. He said, "A lot of people just think everybody's a wino or they're there because they want to be. Well it's not true. The majority of people out here are truly trying to help themselves, but it just seems like you jump one hurdle you got two more to go over."

A recent study in Ashville found that each chronically homeless person there cost tax payers $1,200 dollars a month in hospital and police resources alone.

The homeless are more likely to get sick living out in the elements and they sometimes tie up beds in the jail for nuisance violations.

Advocates for the homeless say by expanding the availability of permanent, subsidized housing their lives would stabilize and we'd end up saving money in the long run.

The City of Wilmington hasn't bought into this yet.

Tomorrow, a delegate from our area is going to Raleigh to learn more about this 10-year plan to eliminate homelessness.

Giving someone a place to live isn't going to solve anything. That just re-enforces their belief that federal, state and local governments should provide for them. Wilmington is a magnet for homeless in this region. Other cities actually buy bus tickets for their homeless to come to Wilmington. If you want to do something for the homeless make them earn it. I heard an idea on the radio the other day that I thought was great. Convert closed military bases into camps for the homeless. There the people would have shelter over their head and food in their belly. But instead of being given shelter and food they will have to work for it. Gardens, fields and animal raising would provide most of the food. While the upkeep of the people would be done by those living there. Also as a condition of living there, they must activily seek imployment, doesn't matter if it's at Micky Ds, Food Lion or Wal Mart. Once they have a job within 6 months they should have enough money saved to get out on their own and provide for their needs. If someone doesn't want to help with the farming or maintenance of the camp or find and maintain a job, then you're out. Period. No coming back. Military bases where used in the example because they have barricks, kitchens and are fenced in. The gate would be open and the residents can come and go as they wish. I know we don't have a closed military base in the area, but with all the old warehouses, schools and shell buildings not being used in the area a suitible site can be found.

BTW the other night one of the Wilmington Council members proposed bussing the homeless out of Wilmington. From what little I heard it didn't go over so well.

posted by David at 5:29 PM :: Permalink ::