Showing posts with label Homeless. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homeless. Show all posts

Monday, March 29, 2010

There But For the Grace of God?

This article was originally published by Technorati on 29 March 2010. To see all my Technorati articles, click Lifestyle in the Contents listing on the sidebar.

According to a New York Times report, Times Square is down to its last homeless person.

Homelessness has risen in other parts of the Big Apple. But Times Square, one of the many flagships of the NYC brand, has made major inroads towards cleaning up its act, a trend that began back in the early nineties under then Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Tactics in the war on homelessness have changed over the years in New York. While in the past the emphasis may have been on the stick, today the carrot is more in vogue. Social workers have courted the lone holdout, an African-American man who goes by the handle Heavy (see photo). While their daily offers of free housing have fallen on deaf ears in Heavy's case, he is the last of seven hardcore street people who held out until just last summer.

But Heavy appears to be well respected by the long-time locals around Times Square. He's polite, well-groomed, adequately-dressed, finds coffee to drink, cigarettes to smoke, food to eat, a little spending money from generous strangers. Heavy even has a mission: he says he's "a protector of the neighborhood." And who's to say that he isn't?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Churches Can Fight City Hall and Win

A version of this article originally appeared on Technorati on 2 March 2010. To see all my Technorati articles, click Lifestyle in the Contents listing on the sidebar.

The Crossroads United Methodist Church in Phoenix, Arizona, has an outreach ministry to the city's homeless population. Part of that outreach includes reaching out to the downtown area and pulling in, by the bus load, as many homeless folks as they can find every Saturday morning for a pancake breakfast.

The problem with this laudable practice is that Crossroads is in a posh neighborhood, and the rich folks that live there are none too keen on having walking, talking reminders of "There, but for the grace of God, go I" in their midst. They like their churches like they like their children, seen and not heard.

Rich folks have lawyers, and these rich folks' lawyers impressed their clients' position upon the local politicians they underwrite, who forthwith issued an injunction against said pancake breakfast, ordering Crossroads, citing zoning law restrictions, to cease and desist, or face consequences.

That should take care of that, said the city fathers to themselves, what with the little guy's inability to fight city hall and all.

Enter the hero in the white hat, in this western melodrama, who happens to be none other than . . . the U.S. Congress?

That's right, that loathsome first branch of government passed the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act back in 2000, and it's been taking down city halls under similar scenarios all across the country ever since.

From the Archives

What's Your Drama?

Ok, I'll go first. My drama has been to allow my pain-body to take over my thinking in the context of a love relationship. No...

Popular Posts