Helping New Bedford’s Homeless – We Are All Needed
Several local business owners as well as pedestrians have asked Mayor Jon Mitchell for his help when it comes to "street people" loitering in the downtown area. The mayor has in turn asked those services for the homeless to relocate to locations away from the city hall area. They include the soup kitchens as well as treatment facilities. It's based on the theory that if there are fewer outreach groups in the downtown area, homeless and other disadvantage persons would congregate elsewhere. This is a no win situation for anyone. I do understand the position of the local business owners who say non-customers hang around the sidewalks and ask to use their bathrooms. They also feels it hurts tourism in the historic district. But if the services are spread out, how easy will it be for those in need to take advantage what is being offered.
I did hear of one potential good solution. A single building to house all of the support services including food pantries, health clinics and substance abuse counselling. Regardless of what is the best solution, let this be a reminder to those of us who are much more fortunate, that there are people amongst us who are in serious need. The food banks are struggling to keep the cupboards stocked, and other service organizations lack volunteers. Through our churches or though the United Way, we should inquire as to what we can do to help our brothers and sisters. For many, a financial donation is not possible. An hour or two of your time each week would go a long way as well. Just something to think about.