There was an interesting article on the Rhino Times website that highlights a discussion among Greensboro City Council members that Greensboro is attracting large numbers of homeless folks from other states and other cities. Another article discussing the homeless quotes Zack Matheny commenting on the fact that the homeless are living in Center City Park— “whether they are in tents or otherwise”.
There has been considerable political activism in Greensboro over the years to support the homeless. But if you subsidize an activity and coddle dysfunction, you will get more of these things.
The planning of Center City Park two decades ago was a big deal. It was going to be downtown’s crown jewel. There was some controversy over the fact that it would be privately owned and/or operated, but it was represented that would enable greater control over misuse of the park. The reality turned out to be different, however. Even years ago, a mere walk through the park on a Friday or Saturday evening made it clear it was no crown jewel.
Considerable capital– both political and economic– has been expended ostensibly to make downtown more livable and enjoyable for large numbers of people from throughout the city. But in fact, that effort has failed because the city and key leaders refuse to make the tough choices to maintain civic order; and to protect common, public spaces so that everyone will want to use and enjoy them. If we were to enact truly Christian principles for helping the disadvantaged, our leaders would not be attracting large numbers of homeless from out-of-town.
Addendum: Another article on this topic from Triad City Beat— from a different perspective– tends to strengthen the case that the city’s approach to helping the homeless has made things worse, not better.