Monday, January 22, 2007

"Homeless village" in Daytona Beach

From Central Florida's Local 6:
A controversial proposal in Daytona Beach, Fla., would create a special village to house hundreds of the county's homeless people, Local 6 News has learned.

Volusia County Council members are expected to consider a plan to build the Tiger Bay Village and treatment facility for the area's 2,500 homeless community.

"Although it is only in its exploratory stages, developers for the Tiger Bay Village say it is invaluable," Local 6's Tarik Minor said.

Developer Michael Arth is proposing to build a 5,600-bed community on a 125-acre lot of rural land.

The village will provide shelter, psychiatric help and the support of neighbors.

"This is for the people who can't work and can't integrate themselves into society," Arth said. "The answer is not to build a Hooverville of tents and trailers but to make these buildings attractive enough so that if you or I would went there, we would say, 'Wow, I'd live there.'"

Critics worry that the Tiger Bay Village will only promote homelessness and that the population will relocate to rural areas.

Arth said homeless people are costing taxpayers millions of dollars every year.

He said building a village is better than putting Band-Aids on the problem.

"I would go to the village to get out of the weather and the cold," homeless man Daniel Hector said.
Politically incorrect point to ponder: if the homeless live in this apartment complex, doesn't that by definition give them a "home" and thus render them no longer "homeless"? :-D

Seriously, though, I actually support this move, for a variety of reasons. For one, many homeless people have mental disorders of some type, and if this proposed facility provides mental health services, that would be a helluva lot better than the mental health services they get on the streets...none. Furthermore, the facility would protect the homeless from the elements of bitter cold and scorching heat.

Also, the one aspect of homelessness many people seem to miss is the children. What if a kid has parents who wind up getting them all homeless? The kids have done nothing wrong, and in some cases, neither did the parents. It would be nice for them all to have a roof over their heads while trying to get the help they need to re-establish themselves.

Finally, I am assuming that this will not be funded by federal dollars, nor should it be. The 10th Amendment to the Constitution says that everything that's not listed in the Constitution is not a federal role and that the states and locales can manage in a manner they see fit. If Daytona is going to use local funds and their citizens consent (either directly or indirectly, in the form of re-electing their representatives), I have no beef with it.

I don't know that I buy this concern that "Tiger Bay Village will only promote homelessness", because who in their right mind would think "You know what? Now that I know there's a homeless village down the road, I think I'll give up my house and my job to go live there!"?

There are admittedly a lot of details I do not know: income restrictions, financing, etc. However, from what little I've read of this, I don't know that I have a problem with this at all. Your thoughts are welcome.