Update on the “criminalization of homelessness”

The stories  about Columbia, SC and Raleigh, NC to which I linked have generated a lot of press and interest across the country. Barbara Ehrenreich’s piece, which was written The Guardian, has received less attention.

It’s easy for us to criticize those benighted folks in the South for their attitudes toward the homeless. Ehrenreich points out that this movement is national, not regional. Even the mayor of a progressive city like Madison seems to share the opinion that bleeding-heart do-gooders are partly responsible for the presence of homeless people in downtowns.

Some additional material on both stories:

The group that was prohibited from serving breakfast to the homeless in Raleigh, NC is Love Wins Ministries. They provide additional background to the incident and their decision not to be arrested here.

Kudos to Bishop Michael Curry of the Diocese of North Carolina, who has this to say about the situation:

… the Mayor announced that no one would be arrested for feeding the homeless in Moore Square and that the city would work with those doing so. Further she said that neither she nor the City Council were aware of this until yesterday. As a side note many of our clergy and congregations are supporters of Love Wins Ministries and we were making phone calls yesterday about this. Additionally, we were working to make our Diocesan House parking lot available for this minustry, which is also downtown, near Moore Square, if that proved necessary or desirable. It appears that for the moment the matter has been resolved and the city is working with the ministry. (Quoted on Episcopal Cafe)

Bishop Curry’s letter to the Mayor and City Council of Raleigh is now available here.

From my source on the ground (or close to the ground), some additional info on Columbia, SC. The Columbia City Council has mastered the craft of Orwellian doublespeak. Their program to restrict homeless people to a remote shelter is known as “Columbia Cares.”

I’ve heard nothing from the Diocese of Upper South Carolina nor from Trinity Cathedral, both of which are located smack dab in downtown Columbia.

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