As anyone in the area knows, MUST Ministries is an excellent organization. Though I am happy they will be expanding and potentially helping another 130 homeless women with children and vets, it seems the residents in the area have valid concerns that haven’t been resolved with a sound solution.
It is understandable these residents believe existing problems will only get worse with the expansion. I agree with Michelle Cooper Kelley that MUST “should improve it’s outreach so problems don’t spill over into the surrounding community.” I have considered the fact that the current problems exist because there aren’t enough people in the area to help patrol the streets or pick up trash, perhaps there simply aren’t enough police officers or MUST staff members available to resolve the issues. The resources as they are simply aren’t enough.
I have considered that homeless people are a mix of many different people of various circumstances. In this mix there are undoubtably good, capable, trainable, grateful people. Why can’t these same people be considered a resource to solve the problem? Why can’t a homeless person also be part of a neighborhood patrol? I don’t think it would be too far of a reach for MUST to organize and train a neighborhood watch group using some of the people who are benefiting from its services. Perhaps they should have a vest or some sort of identifiable piece of clothing so neighbors would know they are part of the patrol. People who have a sense of purpose and engage in neighborhood patrols become more vested in their community.
In Atlanta, Midtown Alliance Blue, could serve as a resource as well. They have years of experience cleaning up neighborhoods on a much larger scale using volunteers and off duty police officers.
I don’t normally write to newspapers but in this case, I felt I MUST. I MUST share some ideas that may help. This expansion may not be happening in my neighborhood but if it were I would be seeking out tangible solutions. Hopefully I have done so.