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What Do They Really Need?
What do they really need?
You know the feeling of pulling up to an intersection with a grizzled guy on the corner. Cardboard sign in one hand and change in the other. What do you do?
- Check your phone and pretend you don’t see him?
- Roll down your window and give him the change you have in your cup holder?
- Give him a Bag of Love?
- Pray the light turns green quickly so you can speed off and forget him.
Everybody needs help sometimes, right? It’s just a dollar, right? But does the dollar just ease your conscience and enable him? Will he just spend the money on feeding his own addiction rather than feeding his kids?
One thing I know for sure is that there are more and more panhandlers in the Northland. There are more corners with men and even some women with cardboard signs.
I am a part of a group convened by a local KCPD officer, which brings social service agencies, churches and law enforcement together to talk about how we can really help the growing number of homeless North of the River.
Many of us agree that what is sorely lacking nearby is an Emergency Shelter mainly for women and their children. 80% of the homeless in the Northland are women who are fleeing domestic abuse. The shelters South of the River are mostly for men.
The Executive Director of A Turning Point spoke to us this week about a project to build a $2.5M emergency shelter in the next two years. They have a couple of locations in mind already but are also asking for help. If you know of a place that might be a suitable building site, or an existing building that could be remodeled as a shelter, please let me know.
I guess is doesn’t answer the question about what you do about the guy on the corner next week. But it reminds us the place to begin is not with the question, “What do I need to do in order to feel better in this situation?,” but rather, “What does he and those like him really need to avoid this situation?”
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