Thursday, March 6, 2014

At Home Downtown: Whispers about downtown Jacksonville and homelessness

As a follow-up to my February 27th post about homelessness, here are excerpts from the March 5th At Home Downtown blog post:

At Home Downtown
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:

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; and
b) through consolidation, create a better result for their population’s most needy.
 The consolidation offered a way to better diagnose each homeless individual’s needs and then meet those needs more readily with appropriate services.
Let's get to speed, Jacksonville.


1 comment:

Traci said...

Great post. There have been too many attempts in the last few years to "crack down" on homelessness, but with policies that target & criminalize the homeless population rather than policies that attempt to fight the tragic situation of homelessness itself. May the humanity-focused partnerships expand & conquer.