Homelessness: No end in sight

Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 10:45pm

Five years after Nashville adopted a 10-year plan to eliminate chronic homelessness in the city, the number of homeless has doubled and the city has fallen woefully short of its ambitious goals to create housing, offer services and improve the lives of the homeless.

In 2005, the then-new Metro Homelessness Commission released an ambitious Strategic Plan to End Chronic Homelessness in Nashville: 2005-2015. “Nashville currently has an inventory of 807 permanent housing opportunities that are targeted for homeless individuals,” the report said. “Fifty-six units are under development.”

The 2005 report estimated that Nashville needed 486 units each of new construction and renovated housing along with 972 rental assistance/subsidies — or a total of 1,944 units — at an estimated cost of nearly $40 million, and that was just for the chronically homeless.

After five years, the commission has 252 units of housing for homeless individuals, none of them new construction.

“Some might think that’s great, but [1,900] was the goal,” said Howard Gentry, former vice mayor and the original director of the homelessness commission. “As a community, as far as awareness, education and collaborative efforts, we’re light years from where we were five years ago. Unfortunately, in terms of housing, we’re way behind our goal.”

Support services are stretched thin, and a shortage of case managers is so crippling that only 400 homeless people have been housed, while more than 4,000 are now on Nashville’s streets every night. In 2005, the number of homeless in Nashville usually averaged about 2,000, Gentry said.

Clifton Harris, director of the homelessness commission, acknowledges that the homeless population has grown in the last half-decade, though he quibbles with the figures Gentry cites. He points out that the current count has been expanded to include more kinds of people — not just the chronically homeless but also the unemployed guy whose girlfriend kicks him out, battered women and their children who find their way to shelters, kids kicked out of their homes by angry parents, and runaways.

The good news is that some of the plan’s goals have been achieved, such as creation of a Homeless Management Information System. Health services are being provided via a long-term contract with Eckman/Freeman, whose officials told the commission in May that it had served 57 people over the past three years at an average cost of $12,000 per person, had housed 40 of those participants, and estimated a cost savings of $96 per person per night off the street. The commission also has helped 169 individuals in the past 18 months obtain the Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Income to which they were entitled, Harris said.

Housing first

However the homeless are counted, Nashville’s 10-year plan was based on a Housing First model, which assumes that getting the chronic homeless into permanent housing with wrap-around supportive services is the most basic step toward stabilizing the entire homeless problem.

Nashville’s existing 252 units are scattered around town, at Mercury Courts out Murfreesboro Road, at Park Court and Fisk Court in north Nashville, and in 50 or 60 apartments around town that landlords for one reason or another have been unable to rent, said Erik Cole, who aside from being chairman of the homelessness commission is also a Metro Council member and executive director of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, a statewide network of low-income civil legal service providers.

Getting a homeless person into one of these units is a labyrinthine process of coordinating a homeless client, a landlord, a not-for-profit or public entity that has agreed to pay the rent, and the agency that makes the actual payment to the landlord, such as the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency, which is responsible for the Section 8 housing program. The process takes as long as a year and would challenge a Ph.D., much less a person whose limited coping skills have led them to life on the street.

Kevin Barbieux, who writes the popular blog The Homeless Guy, tells The City Paper he was on a waiting list for an apartment for a year before waiting out another four-month application process to move in. And as the homeless representative on the original task force in 2004, his understanding of bureaucratic morass is better than most.

“Yeah, being in this Housing First situation has made a big difference in my life,” Barbieux said in an e-mail. “But that’s not to say that I no longer have issues related to my homelessness. Life is still an enormous struggle for me.”

As soon as the tentacles of this administrative octopus are tied up and one homeless client has been placed in an apartment, 4,000 more are on the streets — cold, tired and hungry, some of them children, some pregnant women, some close to death.

“That nightmare … is very real,” Cole said.

So why hasn’t Nashville made more headway solving what is an admittedly intractable problem?

“Money,” Gentry said. “We cannot expect the city, the government, to fund this.”

No private money

In the past five years, the homelessness commission has struggled along on an annual budget of about $1 million, about half provided by Metro along with grants from federal agencies such as Housing and Urban Development, Cole said. As recommended in the original plan, the commission conducted two pilot projects — one on the efficacy of Housing First and the other on fast-tracking efforts to get homeless individuals their government assistance, such as SSI/SSDI.

The commission estimated in 2005 that it would take $72 million in public and private funds to obtain or construct low-income housing units and provide the essential support programs to end chronic homelessness in Nashville by 2015 — $40 million for housing chronically homeless and another $32.5 million for housing opportunities for the non-chronic homeless population. The plan was silent on goals for raising that money.

But the strategic plan called for the commission, in its second year, to establish a “development committee through the Homeless Commission to attract program-related investments for housing.”

But Gentry says that while the commission hasn’t yet raised any of that money, it finally feels it has the community support, institutional experience and infrastructure in place to do so.

Following successful models in Atlanta and Denver, Nashville in August launched The Key Alliance to raise that $72 million to either build or more likely renovate 2,000 housing units in the next five years. The goal is for about $35 million to come from private donors and $36.7 million from federal, state and government sources.

The private-sector leaders who participate are termed Community Champions. Among those already on board are some of the Nashville business community’s heaviest hitters, such as PR executive Sue Atkinson and producer Kitty Moon Emery, Gentry said. Another of the “champions” is attorney James Weaver of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, who represents some of Nashville’s big-dog developers.

At the commission’s July 10 meeting, attendee Lindsey Krinks admonished the commission for its appeal to the city’s business community.

“It’s great to have community champions, but at same time that’s a charity act rather than justice,” she said. “Over the last four and half years, Nashville has built well over 2,000 units of luxury housing. We have built less than 100 units for low-income people.”

Nevertheless, the pitch to these high rollers is not simple justice but simple business economics. Nashville’s economic development plans rely on downtown tourism, a new convention center and hotels, LP Field, the Sommet Center and “urban pioneers” in trendy lofts.

“A big population of homeless people in downtown Nashville is going to impact the tourist experience,” Cole said. “It’s not easy; it’s really messy,” he said, but for Nashville’s long-term growth strategy, “we have to humanely and conscientiously deal with this problem.”

Jay Mazon, executive director of the homeless advocacy group Nashville Homeless Power Project, agrees that community awareness is vital to any effort to reduce or eliminate homelessness.

“Some of these myths and stereotypes need to be dispelled,” she said, citing how “nasty, so mean” downtown business owners had been to her clients before her office moved from the Arcade to 1310 Jefferson St.

“Whether the business community wants to admit it or accept it or not, homeless people are part of the community,” she said. “If they’re bad for business, then it’s good business to help.”

The commission estimates the cost of managing homelessness — through emergency shelters, food banks, police, social services and indigent health care — at $35,000 per homeless person per year. On the other hand, subsidized housing with support services for each homeless person costs about $17,000 per year. The commission brandishes this $72 million in annual avoided cost like a torch, hoping to convince taxpayers and private donors of the worthiness of the commission’s efforts, since appeals to goodwill have proved inadequate.

Raising awareness

On Dec. 9, when the commission held its second annual Project Homeless Connect day, more than 1,500 homeless Nashvillians poured into Municipal Auditorium for a day of free services, such as haircuts and foot washing. Weather-beaten men cruised the echoing concrete space clutching brightly colored boxes blazoned with Nike swooshes. Others sat with some of the 700 volunteers at computers to sign up for food stamps, get help finding their birth certificates or Social Security numbers, obtain bus cards, or access services for veterans or the aging. They were men, women, children, black, white, old, young.

There was even a pet care section, with bags of kibble, treats and toys and bright yellow leashes for cats and dogs. Two black-and-white puppies named Bonnie and Clyde gnawed on each other while waiting in a big crate for their person to return.

Walter Kelley, a native Nashvillian, got a copy of his birth certificate, a résumé and a list of appointments for possible jobs. “But you know what,” he said three days later. “I lost them.”

Still, he wasn’t in despair. He’s hoping “to mingle around and run into somebody who’ll give me a chance to see what I can do.”

Meanwhile, “I am living outside,” he said. “The world is my home.”

At the event, Harris rattled off a slew of statistics to prove the efficacy of housing: a 92 percent retention rate, reduced jail time, reduced hospital visits, better health care, less time on the streets.

Harris said he believes that if homeless advocates can keep the problem in the public’s awareness, “the resources will come.”

“Five years ago, we had a plan, but we didn’t have a method of implementation,” Harris said. “Now we have goals, methods, staff. We’ve put our feet to the fire and we’re ready to move.”

But in the meantime, “people died on the street,” Gentry said that day. “People should not have to die on the street. Women are being beaten. Children should not have to live on the street.” Gentry estimates that 400 people have died homeless in the past nine years.

For some, it’s too late

Indeed, as Project Homeless Connect ended, a cold snap locked down over Nashville. That night, Kevin Goins, 44, wrapped in his blankets near the homeless tent city along the Cumberland River, rolled into his fire and burned to death, the 25th homeless fatality of the year.

“What will it take for us finally as a city to decide that this must stop, this dying must stop?” Charles Strobel, founding director of the Room in the Inn shelter, said Dec. 12 at a memorial for the homeless who died in 2009.

The homelessness commission uses a “vulnerability index” to assign housing, basically plucking off the streets those “most at risk of dying if they are not placed in supportive housing,” Cole said.

The index, created by the Boston advocacy group Common Ground, gives housing priority to those who have been homeless for at least six months and have one or more health markers related to age and other diseases. Because it gives priority to people who could be near death without housing, it actually puts homeless men above homeless children.

The city has accepted the inevitability of the tent city, which it has been trying to raze for years, bowing to the reality that, as bad as its conditions are, it provides a central point of contact for getting services to the homeless. If it were razed, another would spring up in its place. And getting someone into housing doesn’t necessarily mean he or she will stay there.

Even the commission is not without its own internal problems. Just last month, Harris was reprimanded and placed on a 90-day probation for questions about a no-bid $72,000 contract for computer security services.

Meanwhile, as the commission continues to meet, the advocates continue to plead, and business leaders are tapped to raise money, the homeless are still suffering and dying.

As Strobel puts it, “The crisis of homelessness is the crisis of death.”

40 Comments on this post:

By: frank brown on 12/28/09 at 8:18

As long as these bums are off the sidewalk and away from the working public and the responsible public any place they are put is fine with me. (As long as there is a fence around it)

By: nvestnbna on 12/28/09 at 8:56

First, excellent article/story.

Putting the homeless somewhere where there is a fence around them is what we've done for the last 20 years with the mission - a failure in reducing the the incidence of homelessness. Warehousing may be a short term safety net but long term it's like Hotel California - you check in but never check out.

Hat's off to Sue Atkinson / Kittie Moon and others who are moving to a better results oriented model.

By: HighlyAnnoyed on 12/28/09 at 9:37

You can't get rid of the homeless. Many of them chose to be homeless. So, just move them out of downtown. Move the homeless shelters and soup kitchens and other "services" out of downtown so they don't have a reason to hang around and harrass the rest of us.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/09 at 9:54

and where should they be placed, HighlyAnnoyed?

By: HighlyAnnoyed on 12/28/09 at 10:15

Blanketnazi2 - anywhere but downtown. I thought I made that clear. This has worked in other cities such as Chattanooga that needed to clean-up their downtown to make it more friendly to tourists and locals alike.

By: nvestnbna on 12/28/09 at 11:12

To Blanketnazi2:

They need to be located where there is some insulation from downtown yet still able to access the area for those trying to get back on track. There is credibility to the statement that some choose to be so or for lack of other perceived opportunities find themselves destined to be so. It's a complex issue and converting a formerly vibrant downtown Department store into a warehousing facility has not proven to be an effective vehicle for transitioning and reducing the numbers. Some would even question whether some in the service provider industry are really interested in reducing numbers or increasing the need for their services. It's hard to tell, but the numbers continue to grow even during some pretty good economic times.

Other cities, Chattanooga, Jacksonville have moved them out of the CBD with apparently better results. A major challenge for some seeking more effective service and treatment is the religious underpinnings of some of the groups. Anyone offering alternatives or even criticism is lambasted as for most practical purposes as the devil himself. What's clear if this article is accurate is these organizations who seem to be beyond reproach, are not being effective.

By: border collie on 12/28/09 at 12:10

anywhere but downtown...no-one wants these folks in their neighborhood... many are homeless veterans and most are mentally ill. that is the sad part. they are not bankers who just decided to go off the deep end and stop working and start panhandling because it suited them better. think if your wallet was suddenly gone, your ss card, your license, your birth certificate...no family to help you track it down...your parents are dead and suddenly you are on the street with no money, no id, no nothing....where do you start to try and re-obtain these THINGS that are your total identity....they need help... we expect them to walk down to the ss office and get their ss card back...where is your birth certificate...your license sir??? you have nothing? well then find it and come back another day....that is the response they would get from any government office.....it is hard to try and get your life on track when items needed to prove who you are are gone...that is what come to my mind...then we have the whole mental health issue which is ignored in this country...people who are hearing voices are difficult to reason with....sir, move down the street because the tax payers think you smell and your colthes are not clean.....you will get a blank stare or an arguement about something that makes no sense.....the numbers of homeless continue to increase and maybe converting old buildings into housing for mentally ill people who are already on the states tab would help keep them off the streets and help them comply with their medication....

By: DustyU on 12/28/09 at 12:47

Fairly good analysis Blanketnazi2 but I have to disagree on a couple of your points.
What neighborhood are you going to dump those over 4000 homeless into?
If the downtown businessmen had spent even half the money they paid off-duty police (at $50 per hour) to harass the homeless out of downtown we'd have solved a lot of the financial shortages the Metro Homelessness Commission had to deal with. And the just off downtown areas like Charlotte Ave and Nolensville Pike wouldn't be so overwhelmed with the problem. Plus it didn't really work anyway.
A little historical perspective seems to be called for here. The first halfway accurate statistics available were for the beginning of the twentieth century which put the homeless rate at about one in two thousand. By 1990 this had only doubled to one in a thousand. In the next seventeen years the rate accelerated to one in four hundred. And in 2008 it doubled to one in two hundred were homeless. And until the economy turns around I suspect that rate will continue to climb.
The downtown mission is a joke to most homeless. It seems to attract sadists as staff members (same as prison guard positions) ready to hit clients with a baseball bat if they dare even mildly disagree with staff. Except for holidays when the media spotlight is on them the better for donations are consumed by the staff who eat first then the homeless get the leftovers. The one time I stayed overnight (and I'm diabetic) for breakfast I was fed a scoop of gummy rice with nothing on it, two doughnut holes, and a glass of water. If you don't believe it is that bad I would suggest you put on some ragged clothes (don't forget old shoes) and without telling anybody who you are check in for a night.
I attended the first commission meetings under Howard Gentry and have a lot of respect for him, Clifton Harris, and Father Strobel. They do amazing work considering their limited resources.

DustyU.WordPress.Com

By: border collie on 12/28/09 at 12:58

Have any of your family members ever been homeless??? that is what i would ask those who think they are more deserving of the city sidewalks. if they can manage to get food and not freeze to death....they really have it better than those of us who own homes....no time clock, no taxes to file, no home owners insurance to pay, no marta to run your car through, no responsiblities....but many are schizophrenic....that is pure hell!

By: DustyU on 12/28/09 at 1:06

Hi border collie - good point.

DustyU.WordPress.Com

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/09 at 1:35

border collie, i'm with you on this one. the mentally ill need to be in a home where they can get meds and the care they need. and yes, many choose to be homeless. some are addicts that do not want to quit and some are felons who can't find a job and/or do not want to be found. there is no one easy answer.

Dusty, i too have a lot of respect for Howard Gentry and Father Strobel.

By: border collie on 12/28/09 at 1:52

Hello! it is a bad problem. but the homeless/mentally ill gobble up millions of hospital dollars due to not being in a structured enviornment to receive their meds....they will not go each month and get an injection...they will not comply...the voices tell them not to or they feel "cured" and think they no longer need meds. if we could convert some old buildings into a group home type enviornment overseen by the state maybe that would help. i am sure the state is already spread to thin in dealing with these folks. BUT MILLIONS of dollars are spent on hospitalizations that could be avoided. they are already on the state's tab anyway....the housing costs would be far less than a psych hospital bed at approx $1200 per day that taxpayers are already paying for and it is a revolving door. that said, some just need to go to jail.....criminal vs mentally ill....it is hard to determine so the police take them to the ER to get an eval.....they end up in a hospital bed and some need to go to jail.....

By: border collie on 12/28/09 at 1:54

the mission hasn't been the same animal since Dr Reasoner retired years ago! He was a truly caring person........

By: BigPapa on 12/28/09 at 2:24

most are mentally ill, drug addicts, alcoholics, or all the above... they are not just regular people that are lacking a place to live or work. they need to be in a hospital/sanitrium setting, not living like stray dogs and NOT smelling up the place and setting up "tent cities".

The city should burn that down and work very very very hard to make Nashville the LEAST friendly to these bums... they'll move on.

By: DDG on 12/28/09 at 2:29

Many of these people need to be forced to take medication. We did away with psych prisons years ago for the most part. We need them again. The others that aren't crazy need to be put into 12 step programs or just given a hand up, if they aren't addicted.

By: DustyU on 12/28/09 at 2:36

BigPapa you are wrong - they are regular people! When we start dehumanizing them that opens the door. You are making the same arguments that Hitler made about the Jews and the KKK made about blacks. I don't know if you are aware of this but 40% of American wage-earners are one paycheck from being homeless themselves. Your attitude is very NIMBY and very un-christian.

DustyU.WordPress.Com

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/09 at 2:47

Dusty, you are correct that the face of homelessness is changing especially in this economy. there are many more families and women with children who are on the streets.

By: BigPapa on 12/28/09 at 3:14

Dusty
1. You are simply just wrong. This is not Mr & Mrs America just down and out because the lost a job. Nice myth but it's not true. I see these folks down town every day- these are NOT folks looking for a job. What they ARE is freakin nuts.
2. You lose the argument because you immediately referenced Hitler and Nazis. The first person to compare the other to Hitler automaticly loses any debate.
3. You lose again because you are making up stats.
4. You lose again because you lack reading comprehension skills. I didnt dehumanize them, I said they are currently living like stray dogs. They need to be in an institution to KEEP from being treated this way.

By: BigPapa on 12/28/09 at 3:23

You are RIGHT about the NIMBY thing. I DO NOT want bums around me at any time; at home, at work, down town, at the library, etc... I dislike seeing them or having to smell them sink up Nashville.

By: border collie on 12/28/09 at 3:34

Big Papa- next time you use the potty...take a big sniff....see....yours smells also!!!!! they are your human brothers and sisters....like it or not.

By: BigPapa on 12/28/09 at 3:39

BIG BIG difference between taking a shower and using a toliet like a civilized person and not bathing and taking a pee or dump in the park or side of the road.
sorry no bother of mine there.

but the term "human garbage" does come to mind.

By: border collie on 12/28/09 at 3:57

glad those who are not sparkling clean and wearing a nice department store fragrance are disposable...so...a schizophrenic person....who is unable to understand that they need a bath should be disposed of? that is a wonderful plan....these people often are highly intelligent and the mental illness destroys them.... as for the alcoholics...i say get a life and get over it.....where there is a will there is a way.....BIG difference for the schizophrenics....they DO NOT want to be tortured by voices every day...they don't want to be scared and shunned...they are trapped by the voices inside their head...
One of the longest lived gunmakers in this country....the brownings...have dealt with mental illness for a long time....this family is far from street trash....look up the brownings and schizophrenia...read what this young man's mother wrote about her son. NAMI i believe is where the article is found

By: Marymeet on 12/28/09 at 4:02

I've been 1 day away from being on the streets after loosing 2 jobs (my husband and I) along with our 15 year old daughter and two cats. We lost our house our car our dignity and no one wanted to be around us, no one could help us. Couldn't get government help because we had a house, foreclosure didn't matter.

I can understand the anger some of you feel. What would you have said if we had begged you for money? Would you have refused because we would just drink it away or use it to buy drugs? Would you have told us to get jobs?

We got very lucky and got through about 3 months of paperwork and background checks in a month and a half and got a place to live. I got my job back but it is so slow this year I made eight grand instead of 14. The husband can't find full time permanent work. I'm betting it's because his teeth are rotting out of his head. But he works every part time job that comes his way. He's been diagnosed with chronic depression and post traumatic stress disorder.

Our daughter became so despondent she was contemplating suicide to make things easier for us. Managed to get her over it with help from the Oasis center thank heavens.

By the way, did you know that if you have a government subsidized home you can't get dental work help, but if you are homeless it is free?

It’s a long story, and here's the point. We once made $64K a year. Think with compassion not rage, it could be you.

PS our house was in a downtown neighborhood that had homeless people in it. When asked I gave people water to drink and food to eat for as long as I could.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/09 at 4:17

Marymeet, thank you for sharing your story. and yes, it could be any of us one day. i'm so sorry that you felt abandoned when you needed people the most.

By: border collie on 12/28/09 at 4:19

i gave a homeless schiz man a coat last year....called him to my vehicle and handed it out the window....he didnt say thank you ...he was still talking to the voices....he took the coat and walked on....later and for weeks i saw him wearing the goose down coat and it made me happy to know i helped keep him warm....he wandered until spring wearing that coat.....i haven't seen him since spring....his hair was matted and long and he did smell....but at least he was warm and maybe i saved him from frostbite....i can't imagine how it must feel to freeze to death!!!
If we all live long enough....everything comes full circle....fetal position at birth....fetal position at death....pray to God you don't end up with alzheimers.......if you live long enough you could be one of those statistics on the streets....some of these elderly folks are dementia patients who are lost in the APS system and homeless because they have used all their retirement money and are demented but no-one has conservatorship over them to place them where they can be taken care of so they have free will and free roam.......

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/09 at 4:27

border collie, there was a homeless schiz guy who used to hang out in Centennial Park. i used to buy him food because i saw him digging through the trash for food. when i approached him he'd always run off so i'd just leave the food on the picnic table so that he could see it. it honestly was like dealing with an abused animal. he was too busy with the voices to hold a conversation but he wasn't violent. i haven't seen him in a while and i hope he's being watched after.

By: border collie on 12/28/09 at 4:50

yes, natzi...they are usually more scared of you than you are of them....they can seem to sense fear in others and it heightens their fear of you in some instances. it is a unique illness and is fascinating. i try to teach my kids how to handle such instances...with respect. thank you for sharing...my kids were so thrilled every time we would see "the bum" and he was wearing the coat we gave him....he wandered in kroger one day wearing it...we met him at the door on the way in...he didn't recognize me and proceeded to talk to the fruit for a while and then left....that is the last time i saw him...poor fella. as far as the violence ...it is often directed at the people who care for them the most...their family...usually as a result of not taking meds or family trying to "tell them what to do" and frustration ensues and thus alienation from family. thus homeless.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/09 at 5:06

bc, it's good that you teach your kids compassion for those who are mentally ill. too many folks still adhere to the stigmatism that often goes with mental illnesses. however, it is scary to see someone who is schitzophrenic and not on their meds if you don't know what is going on.

By: border collie on 12/28/09 at 5:11

thanks. yes, it is scary. read the article liz browning wrote about her son....NAMI website...search her name....very enlightening! very sad! most healthcare workers are scared of them ...

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/09 at 5:14

thanks, border collie. i'll look that up. most people who are not familiar think schitz are just folks who are high on drugs.

By: border collie on 12/28/09 at 5:16

winter 2009 issue. they are fascinating. most are extremely intelligent....

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/09 at 5:18

i found it. you know TN is also a state that will not allow a family member to commit a schitz into mental health care against their will. and you're right - it does seem to affect the very intelligent and very creative....hmmm......

By: Blanketnazi2 on 12/28/09 at 5:22

One good thing we have in Nashville is the mental health court that was started by Judge Fishburn. He has made some headway but we still have a ways to go.

By: border collie on 12/28/09 at 5:27

Yes, a lot of states are farther behind than us...for a change! LOL! but there are so many people who need constant help.... it is really sad....i am glad you found it and hope you will refer it to others....the mentally ill need more people on their side....over and out for today....dinnertime approaching...

By: DustyU on 12/28/09 at 7:03

back to bigpapa

First: I'm speaking from experience. I moved to Nashville on a job offer from Dell but when I arrived the job evaporated. My funds lasted less than a week and after my experience at the mission I ended up living under the Gateway bridge for almost a year before a pastor helped me get a place to live. As best I can tell only about a quarter of the homeless are actually mentally ill. Another quarter are alcoholics that have been kicked out of their homes because they are not willing to give up the booze. The rest are just individuals that for one reason or another are down on their luck.
Second: I didn't compare you to Hitler. I said you were using the same arguments. Read his early speeches for yourself.
Third: The statistics are online for anybody with an open mind to find.
Fourth: I was responding to your comment "they are not just regular people". If that means I "lack reading comprehension skills" I guess I'll just have to suffer along with having compassion for them instead.

DustyU.WordPress.Com

By: richgoose on 12/29/09 at 4:11

Oh my goodness, these people should quit loitering in the streets and go home like the rest of us.

By: peashootr on 12/29/09 at 4:32

Instead of remodeling a library why not use it to help the homeless. At least someone will benefit from it.

By: mnrgoins1 on 1/2/10 at 5:29

Kevin Goins, THAT DIED TRYING TO KEEP WARM was part of my family and for all of those who have no compassion and understanding that sometime things happen to break someones spirit and with the economy the way it is , where it is so hard to get a job , You people on here who are putting down the homeless have never walked in their shoes you dont know what they are going through , Kevin was a good man before this happened he had a job , kids and alot of family who loved him very much Kevin chose to not move in with his family maybe he was afraid of being a burden on them , We just dont know why he was there .
Complaining about the homeless fixes nothing .
Instead of complaining about it be part of the solution , not the problem .
We, are to be our brother’s keeper by imitating Jesus Christ in our daily behavior (1 Cor. 11:1; Eph. 5:1). We are to practice being kind to one another. We are to practice hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9). We are to practice godliness toward one another. We are to conform ourselves to godliness by practicing the deeds of Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 4:7).
<< Isaiah 58:7 >>
Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
I personally can not understand why there is no compassion for the homeless and the poor people As far as saying they are looking for handouts , and free meals ,
If you have nothing to eat would you not accept the offer of food . Homelessness in the world is unacceptable . If there is one homeless person in the world WE ARE NOT DOING OUR JOB !!! ITS US NOT THEM THAT IS THE PROBLEM.

By: yucchhii on 8/23/10 at 3:14

TO FRANK BROWN: I think "YOU" are a BUM! How's that ya clown? I don't give a dam what you might do for a living...IF even you are working! Your SNOT NOSE ATTITUDE IS UNACCEPTABLE!! YOU NEED TO BRING YOUR NOSE DOWN OUT OF THE CLOUDS BEFORE WE SEE YOU AT THE NASHVILLE RECUE MISSION!!! Yeah, i know, "I'll NEVER BE HOMELESS!" That's your attitude, your sooooo far from reality your out in space ya BUM! There all kinds of reasons why people become homeless and many see it comming and can do NOTHING about it. I'd love to see a "REALITY" show on tv that takes people like you and they take your money and connections away and put you oon the streets of new york city or L.A and NOT tell you how long you'll be out there for! See how long "YOU" last! Ya BUM! Or even better yet, how about put yopu on the streets of the city you live in now, I assume that would be Nashville, see what you can do to get yourself back on your feet! I've spoken to several people at the Nashville rescue mission who, before they became homeless had "YOUR" attitude..."I'LL NEVER BECOME HOMELESS!" Yeah, Ok, Now you stay at the Nashville rescue mission!!! Whe you DO come to stay there, I suggest VERY STRONGLY, GET RID OF THAT THINKING OF YOURS, YOU WON'T LAST LONG THERE, PROMISE!!!

By: yucchhii on 8/23/10 at 3:23

This comment by that clown by the name "FRANK BROWN" is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!! The FIRST comment on this collumn that TOTALLY demonstates the "SELFISHNESS" This is why people like MYSELF and others who are trying to get back on OUR feet REALLY GET PISSED OFF!!! They have NO CLUE what causes people to become homeless! They automatically assume that EVERY homeless person is a bum and that they worthless! Well people who do that are worthless and do nothing but HURT society even more with their STUPIDITY!!! People like that don't give a dam about anybody but themselves and then they wonder WHY the world is the way it is, and have the gaul to BITCH about it later! To them I say "I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT!!! Noramlly, I don't wish homelessness to happen to anyone, BUT the acception to that is when people like that show their SNOT NOSED ATTITUDES!!! I'll TEAR THAT DOWN "REAL FAST!"