Columbia, SC — It is more than sad that the resolve to do something about the homeless has devolved into “us vs. them.” Both sides need to get together and discuss the situation, making an active effort to see beyond their own point of view. Both sides — those who are concerned for business and tourism and those who empathize with the homeless — have legitimate concerns that need to be addressed. Were such a meeting (or meetings) to take place, the homeless should be represented so that everyone can get a better idea of exactly what they cope with from day to day. While some are homeless because they have mental or drinking problems, many are on the street because this is the situation hard times have thrust upon them.
I recently moved from Nashville, a city much larger than Columbia, which has its share of the homeless. Nashville has found admirable ways of both taking care of them and requiring them to assume responsibility.
I do not live in Columbia, but it is my hometown and because it is a city I love, I return as often as I can. I have a genuine interest in seeing a happy outcome to this bad situation that has brought Columbia a lot of negative publicity nationally.