Homeless need our help

Published: Saturday, February 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 31, 2003 at 10:56 p.m.

Recently, the frozen body of a homeless man was found in an Atlanta dumpster. Could it happen here? Absolutely! Even as we turn up the heat and sleep under extra blankets, hundreds of homeless folks are being denied shelter and sustenance. Meanwhile, city leaders encourage the United Way-funded St. Francis House to limit the number of needy that is serves.

For an entire year, the coalition created to find a site for safe space has been blocked at every turn by the NIMBYs (not in my back yard). Shame on the city commissioners who have sided with powerful business interests who consider the homeless a nuisance.

Shame on all you NIMBYs. You ignore or persecute the homeless during the week, then attend church, temple or mosque on your holy day. What hypocrisy! One day of piety does not cancel out six days of indifference to suffering. Talk about man's inhumanity to man!

Shame on the new St. Francis House director, who so airily dismisses homeless single men, many of whom suffer from mental illness, military-related ailments, alcoholism or just plain bad luck. I remind you that the first rule of social work is to help all those in need, not just those who are perceived as deserving.

I am outraged that such uncaring people control the fate of those on whom society has turned its back. And I am grateful beyond measure to the dedicated volunteers of St. Francis House, Salvation Army, the mobile outreach and the coalition.

Kudos to the hardworking, underpaid, compassionate staffs of St. Francis House and Salvation Army. All of you do your very best to help the powerless in the face of opposition from the powerful.

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