Todays article in the Union Tribune discusses the building of supportive housing for homeless persons. Cedar Gateway at 6th aand Cedar will have 23 of these units to be completed by 2010 at a cost of $7.2 Million. Father Joe’s Village at 15th and Commercial will have 65 units at a cost of $6.5 Million to be complete by 2009-10. There is an unnamed developement at 9th and Broadway that will have 25+ units at a cost of $20 Million to be completed by 2011 and BRIDGE Housing to be built at 22nd and Commercial. 10 units at a cost of $1 Million to be complete in 2010-11.
These all pose serious questions both socially, economically and politically. There is a serious need for th homeless people in our community to have a place to stay. The temporary shelter being operated by the Alpha Project was met with great outcry from the neighborhood. The fear was that it wold bring an increase in the homeless population and have crime figures escalate. I live in the vicintity of this shelter and we have not seen any real impact from this. There are, however, communities even closer to it that had serious compaints about its arrival before. i would be interested in hearing how different there living experience has been since the shelter went up. If a permanent solution is not brought forth then every year people will be going before the City Council to cry NIMBY. The East Village has a great argument. It has ALWAYS supported the social services because it has ALWAYS been the dumping ground for them all. I myself look out my window and see a community correctional facility to the West, a drunk tank/rehab to the East and plenty of suspect “hotels” in the neighboring blocks. Here is what I have to say about that. I love my neighborhood and couldn’t imagine living any where else. I along with my wife will raise our daughters here with or without those places being there.
Economically, a lot of people worry about the value of there home due to this. This can be a valid concern. lot of us see our home as a vehicle to send our kids to school, a retirement plan and a tappable resource. The thought of that being messed with can cause an uprising. People are attached to their money. I can say this one thing. We live in downtown, there are homeless people and that will never change. What can change is how our eyes see this situation. Do you view it as a blight or as an opportunity to become active in your community in many different ways? That is for the reader to decide.
Politically, the City Council or Mayor that finds a permanent solution to our homeless peoples situation will most likely have a statue or a city building named after them. The ability to find a happy medium where the tax paying citizens feel comfortable with the solution and the solution is actually a solution for the people who are on the streets. The homeless people in our community are still people. Human beings. We don’t know what their respective stories are or how they got there but they are there and the sooner we recognize them as people the sooner a true soluton, or happy medium can be reached. How many of us are a paycheck away from joining them? Something to consider.
So what, you ask, is supportive housing? Supportive housing is a place for a homeless person to live to help “break the cycle” of living on the street. This has been going on in downtown since 1997 with places like the Leah Residence, the Potiker Center and Villa Harvey Mandel. There hasn’t bee an outcry about these places. And, as nancy Graham- President of the CCDC says, “you can’t say, ‘I want people off the street,’ and don’t give them a place to go to.”
Read the article for more info on who oversees them and other areas of concern.