Columbia, SC — No matter what side one is on in the debate over how Columbia should address homelessness, here are some facts to ponder:
It is estimated that about 1,500 homeless people are in the Columbia area, mostly downtown. Some percentage of these people probably can not be rehabilitated and need to be taken care of, but by whom? Who will house, feed, give medical attention to these people? Will it be the state, the city, the county?
If a city wants different results in dealing with this serious problem, then the folks in charge — City Council — must do something different.
The people protesting Councilman Cameron Runyan’s plan haven’t offered any real solution.
Attorney Eric Bland, whose office is on Calhoun Street, is totally correct when he suggests that he and other business owners have a right not to be panhandled and their clients should not be harassed by homeless people walking into his office wanting to use restrooms.
Things have gotten so bad that businesses are talking about leaving the area.
The problem is not going away unless Columbia adopts a new plan of action, and Mr Runyan’s plan is better than anything else I have seen.