Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Turn the Rio Grande District into a Sight of People Helping People

   What if we were to take the problem of our homeless being an eyesore and turn it into something we could be proud of, something we were glad that visitors should see?
  The homeless district is the first image many see of our city. They arrive at the Greyhound, and as they are picked up and driven away, they pass through the streets of our homeless. Sometimes, they are stunned at how serious our problem is.
   Then, there are the businesses in the area. The homeless are a blight to them. The crime that comes with the homeless problem both chases away business and interrupts the personal safety of those who would practice business in the area.
   The crime problem has the city and state in a tizzy, trying to figure out a way to rein it in. Our leaders are seeking to move the homeless out of the Rio Grande area, not only because of the blight it presents to have the homeless roaming the streets, but because of that crime it attracts.
   Well, tonight I got wondering. What if instead of moving the homeless away -- because they reflect so poorly on our city -- what if we made a few change-ups, so the homeless were no longer something we didn't want people to see, no longer something we didn't want to inflict upon visitors to the downtown area?
   What if we were proud of how we took care of our homeless? What if you could not pass by the area without seeing someone reaching out to help them? Social workers? If we must have them, let them come right into the district, walking the streets and being there to help the poor right on the spot. Work? What if there were those who brought work to them, who put them to work right on the streets of the Rio Grande area, in full view of all the visitors who might pass by?
   Crime? It occurs to me, that if you have enough of a presence there -- if you have enough helpers there -- that is going to chase off a lot of the crime. But, go beyond that. What if we beefed up our police presence, too, so much that it would be hard to commit a crime for there always being an officer looking over your shoulder?
   The downtown area need not be a blight. We could turn it into a pleasant sight. What if acting troupes and entertainers came down to the area, performing right on the streets for the homeless? As the people got off the Greyhound to be whisked away, they would pass by the entertainers, seeing them entertain the homeless.
   I'm not sure but what there isn't something wonderful to be done with our homeless situation.

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