There is a whisper out there about finding a champion. Everyone needs a champion. When it comes to downtown, its revitalization and homelessness, there needs to be champion, too. The whisper is is the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce might become this champion.
The qualities of this champion would be to create a culture that believes downtown revitalization and improving the results for our most needy are symbiotically linked and that that these issues can somehow complement each other.
It is important to realize that this is possible and has happened elsewhere:Let's get to speed, Jacksonville.
In Chicago, it was the mayor’s office. The mayor’s office is the champion. Within the mayor’s office is a homelessness tsar.... They have results to back up their effort. Their last point in time count study...counted 1,200 homeless people in Chicago. That’s in a city of 2.7 million people.
In comparison, Jacksonville today has close to 1 million people, or approximately 70% fewer people that Chicago. And yet, we have more than 100% more homeless people. We need a champion to get better results.
In Charlotte, the business community became the champion. First, they visioned out the city they wanted. Charlotte wanted to be the banking capital of the world. Then, they consolidated their homeless service providers outside of their urban core so they could
a) invite more banks to participate in the city’s vision, in their downtown core; andThe consolidation offered a way to better diagnose each homeless individual’s needs and then meet those needs more readily with appropriate services.
b) through consolidation, create a better result for their population’s most needy.
- City of Chicago: Plan to End Homelessness
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Coalition for Housing
- More Than Shelter! - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Ten Year Plan to End and Prevent Homelessness
- North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness (NCCEH)
- United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) – coordinates the federal response to homelessness and creates a national partnership at every level of government and with the private sector
- Homeless Shelter Directory – provides Homeless Shelters and Homeless Service Organizations. This includes all resources necessary to help the needy.