Saturday, March 01, 2008

A very small answer for a huge problem





This 120-foot long and 30-foot wide tent filled with double-decker bunk beds will offer only meals and overnight stays to about 120 people.


Frustrated with an encampment near the French Quarter, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has decided to force homeless people into a military-style barrack.

Concerned about the plan, the federal government's "homeless czar" said he will ask Nagin to consider longer-term approaches to the problem. Philip Mangano, executive director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, will urge Nagin to find another answer.

Critics say the plan is short on long-term solutions to a homeless epidemic. Even the administrator of the New Orleans Mission, where the barrack stands, said he is unsure it can really help a homeless population that has doubled to 12,000 since Katrina struck in August 2005.

For the homeless, moving to the barrack is not voluntary. City workers will usher people into the barrack as early as Thursday, a city spokesman said. Those who do not go will face citations.

The encampment* attracted former senator John Edwards, who stopped there the day he ended his presidential bid and pledged to "never forget" the downtrodden.

Read the Associated Press report here.
---------------
* Fox News' Bill O'Reilly baselessly suggested that the homeless encampment did not exist.

21 Comments:

At 1:35 AM, OpenID michael said...

I find it extremely disturbing that for the homeless of New Orleans, usage of the homeless shelter will be compulsary and not voluntary.

And to give a citation to those who will not "volunteer" to use the shelter? That comes really close to dictatorship. More than that it borders on the insane.

Since the shelter will only be able to provide shelter for about 120 out of the 12,000, will make "law breakers" out of those for whom there is no where else to go.

It is Mayor Nagin's behavior that is criminal.

 
At 5:52 PM, Blogger Jacqueline Dowd said...

You're right. This is no solution at all.

As a practical matter, they're not even offering a place to store your stuff.

 
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