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urbanbna

Nashville's Homeless Problem - Nashville counts 1,982 homeless people

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Here is the link to the breaking story over at the City Paper :

http://nashvillecitypaper.com/index.cfm?se...s&news_id=48605

What can we do to lower these numbers, or at least get them out of busy areas and downtown, and the parks? Any ideas? I see it as a huge eyesore downtown in the parks. You cant even visit the parks downtown these days because of the sheer ammount of them in the parks. especially the one there on church st.

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Here is the link to the breaking story over at the City Paper :

http://nashvillecitypaper.com/index.cfm?se...s&news_id=48605

What can we do to lower these numbers, or at least get them out of busy areas and downtown, and the parks? Any ideas? I see it as a huge eyesore downtown in the parks. You cant even visit the parks downtown these days because of the sheer ammount of them in the parks. especially the one there on church st.

Regarding the parks: You get what you pay for. A "free" park will naturally result in a shortage of park space. Whenever a good or service is offered below the market clearing price, there will be over-consumption.

- sorry, that's the academic economic analysis - you probably weren't looking for that :P

Actually, the solution is to not have any public parks. If downtown residents demand greenspace, it should be provided by those building the downtown residences. Hopefully the swimming pool level of the Signature towere will also include plenty of trees and landscaping for residents to enjoy. Also, there should be a lot more "green" roofs or rooftop gardens downtown that can be enjoyed by residents and/or office workers. I guess this solution pretty much amounts to "continue ignoring the city parks and create private parks above street level" . Also, if it comes up for a vote, the downtown parks should be eliminated to deprive the homeless a place to congregate - but that raises the question of where can they go? You can't just throw them out of downtown, then you'll see centennial park and Hadley park overrun with homeless. But, having parks full of homeless doesn't necessarily mean you have a "homeless problem", it means you have a public park over-consumption problem. This could be solved by fencing off the park and charging admission fees. Talk about a peaceful park experience! Determining an appropriate park fee woud be a nightmare, though :ph34r:

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The homeless in d'town are a problem on several levels.

1- Obviously it is not a correct impression of Nashville that visitors may take home.

2- They do tend to congregate in park areas and by their numbers alone disuade others from using the area.

3- The constant solicitation for money from the homeless and those that just make a living by passing themselves off as homeless is very intimidating to both d'town visitors and residents.

I hope a solution can be found but I fear the typical answer by metro of just forming a commission of stakeholders and giving them a bunch of money is not the answer.

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Vagrancy laws? Make panhandling illegal? Build SROs elsewhere? This is a tough problem that many cities face. Perhaps make resources and shelters available in other parts of the city to entice the people away from downtown? Otherwise, all the parks downtown will mostly be used by homeless people, including the new one at the courthouse. I suspect that once people move into the Viridian and the Signature Tower, they will be screaming about homeless people congregating next door and will pressure the politicians to do something.

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As a downtown resident, I agree something needs to be done to improve the homeless situation. I'm split on how to address the issue. I think it is more important to seek ways to reduce the problem of chronic homelessness rather than to just attack the symptoms. Sweeping homeless people off of the street does not solve homelessness, it just makes those who want their whole world to be an antiseptic Disney World feel better.

At the same time, I think authorities should crack down on panhandling and other illegal activities, to include drunk and disorderly conduct and public urination. And when I say crack down, I don't just mean on the homeless, I mean on all offenders.

I interact with the homeless daily as I walk to work, walk my dogs, etc. Most of them do not ever harrass me. Most are actually pretty friendly. I make it clear to the ones who would try and intimidate me that I will not be intimidated. I know that attitude will not work for everyone.

I do not know what the solution is to homelessness. I know that it, like poverty and unemployment, cannot ever be completely eradicated. I also know that much of the problem is related to drug and alcohol abuse and mental illness. I encourage anyone on this site who is truly bothered by the problem to become active in helping to address chronic homelessness and the associated criminal behavior.

BTW, the idea of charging admission to public parks makes me cringe. Admission prices would not only exclude the homeless, but the poor as well. Please, let's not turn our metropolis into a gated community. What's next, hurricane fences around our gleaming new residential towers. I agree that by the logic of the market, parks are not pure public goods, but they are not pure private goods either. They have low marginal costs. Once you build the park, it does not costs much more to serve 20 people than it does to serve one person. I have never seen a Nashville park truly saturated, not even the park across from the library.

Enough of the soap box...everybody have a great St. Patrick's day!

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Put them on a bus to Atlanta???

Seriously, Chicago addressed the situation by giving them jobs. The "homeless" wear photo ID's around their necks and sell newspapers put out by the homeless shelter. Whatever they make, they get to keep. It kinda keeps them honest since they have to go back to the shelter if they want to keep making money.

I get hassled less in Chicago than about any other urban city I go to.

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enforce the laws (panhandling, public intoxication, etc) and work with shelters to make real improvements. Search the web for a blog by Kevin Barbieux -- a homeless guy who just recently left Nashville. Lots of insight into a world about which most of us know very little. Not all of what he writes makes total sense, but it's an eye-opener.

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Personally, I think the homeless situation in Nashville will not be tolerated by the many new future residents in the downtown area, especially those slated to move in shortly to Church St. As the number of downtown residents grows larger, there will be tremendous political pressure to do something about the homeless problem. As others have stated earlier, there are many ways to address the problem. All Nashville needs is the political will to do something about it. Frankly, I think that if these people are forced to do something real, like get a job (which are extremely plentiful, by the way) their lives and their own self esteem will improve dramatically.

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Frankly, I think that if these people are forced to do something real, like get a job (which are extremely plentiful, by the way) their lives and their own self esteem will improve dramatically.

I'm not sure you can legally force people to work. The problem, as was pointed out, that a lot of these people (I would venture a guess that well over 50%, perhaps even 2/3rds) are mentally ill. In that instance, more than a few of them should probably be institutionalized, not exactly an inexpensive solution. Dealing with the homeless to come up with comprehensive substantive solutions to the problem isn't politically sexy, but we have to do something.

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Something hilarious i saw the other day downtown. a parking meter turned homeless donation meter. it said do not give money to the homeless, put it here instead to insure proper use. LOL, its like the dont feed the animals signs.

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The homeless in d'town are a problem on several levels.

1- Obviously it is not a correct impression of Nashville that visitors may take home.

2- They do tend to congregate in park areas and by their numbers alone disuade others from using the area.

3- The constant solicitation for money from the homeless and those that just make a living by passing themselves off as homeless is very intimidating to both d'town visitors and residents.

I hope a solution can be found but I fear the typical answer by metro of just forming a commission of stakeholders and giving them a bunch of money is not the answer.

After only living and working in Nashville for just a few months, I have become personally aware of the homeless situation in downtown Nashville. One day on my lunch hour I had three people ask me for money. I now tend to be on the lookout for suspicious people and try to avoid them altogether; I believe I have gotten better about it.

In fact, I do not have a problem informing others to be on the lookout for these people who are likely soliciting for money. I personally believe that if you give someone on the streets money once they are likely to solicit you once again. In fact, I have noticed the same homeless people tend to repeatedly hang out in the same spot regularly.

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I'm not sure you can legally force people to work. The problem, as was pointed out, that a lot of these people (I would venture a guess that well over 50%, perhaps even 2/3rds) are mentally ill. In that instance, more than a few of them should probably be institutionalized, not exactly an inexpensive solution. Dealing with the homeless to come up with comprehensive substantive solutions to the problem isn't politically sexy, but we have to do something.

My choice of the word "force" was a poor one. What I meant is that if programs are set up which help them get and maintain jobs.....Many mentally ill people can work and provide themselves with a living. Many of these homeless people can work and should work to provide a decent life for themselves, but they may need someone to help get them started. It's in their own best interest that this happen.

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It is recommended to give money to the homeless shelters and then when someone is soliciting you, ask them to go to the homeless shelter you donated to. This helps both parties.

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There is a new campagin in Memphis to solve the panhandling problem called "Say NO to panhandling." The Center City Commission puts up signs all over Downtown telling people not to give money to the homeless because they'll just come back for more. http://www.downtownmemphis.com/domain/clea...panhandling.asp

I've seen more homeless people in Downtown Nashville that I have in Downtown Memphis though.

My experience with panhandlers hasn't been scary. When I was in Nashville, I was getting off I-40 at Broadway and stuck at the light. There was a homeless guy there going car to car asking for money and some were actually giving him bills (yes, as in more than one dollar!). When he got to my car, I opened my window and handed him an orange and he excitingly said "GIMME THAT ORANGE! God Bless ya" and he moved on to the next car.

I also saw a homelss guy playing drums on some pans and trash lids for change on the touristy side of Broadway. I think giving money to a homeless person is a bad idea, so I recommend giving them some fruit or water and giving the money to a charity.

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That Memphis article also stated that the vast majority of panhandlers in downtown Memphis weren't homeless. I imagine the same would be true in Nashville.

I think in most cities, there may be more homeless people than street hustlers, but the street hustlers are a lot more visible.

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That Memphis article also stated that the vast majority of panhandlers in downtown Memphis weren't homeless. I imagine the same would be true in Nashville.

I think in most cities, there may be more homeless people than street hustlers, but the street hustlers are a lot more visible.

Regarding "Street Hustlers", I am surprised (in retrospect) by how many times I have been approached by people at gas stations who just need "a few gallons of gas" to get home and do whatever. Usually these people have better cars than I have - which I usually point out. After dark, gas stations around downtown and even west end can be major panhandling/hustling centers. But I've even been approached by gasoline hustlers in Murfreesboro! I definitely see the angle they're playing: It's all statistics. If they ask X number of people to buy them gas, and they do it long enough, someone will eventually buy them some gas and they're on their merry way. If they happen to "hustle" someone in a charitable mood they may even get a full tank - so it really is a rational decision on the part of the hustlers to lay their pride to the side and play the odds. Asking for gas only takes a minute, but the pay-off is pretty decent in monetary terms. Some of the stories they pitch are hilarious though!

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Regarding "Street Hustlers", I am surprised (in retrospect) by how many times I have been approached by people at gas stations who just need "a few gallons of gas" to get home and do whatever. Usually these people have better cars than I have - which I usually point out. After dark, gas stations around downtown and even west end can be major panhandling/hustling centers. But I've even been approached by gasoline hustlers in Murfreesboro! I definitely see the angle they're playing: It's all statistics. If they ask X number of people to buy them gas, and they do it long enough, someone will eventually buy them some gas and they're on their merry way. If they happen to "hustle" someone in a charitable mood they may even get a full tank - so it really is a rational decision on the part of the hustlers to lay their pride to the side and play the odds. Asking for gas only takes a minute, but the pay-off is pretty decent in monetary terms. Some of the stories they pitch are hilarious though!

To give or not to give--it's the magic of the market, and freedom of contract, right?

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I think enforcing panhandling and intoxication/drug laws is an important means dealing with the homeless issue, along with more importantly IMO screening out the homeless who are mentally ill and in need of institutionalization, which would require the re-opening and funding of state/local mental institutions which for 20+ years have been pretty much reduced to only the most severe and dangerous cases.

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"The homeless have an intimate knowledge of the street; Why not just strap them to a rickshaw!!!" - Kramer

Hey, I bet all those new people living downtown would love a classy ride on the back of a rickshaw!

But in all seriousness, the availability of jobs isn't what causes homelessness. These are people who either can't work or won't work. I deal with it everyday, and I would say it's about 50/50 of those who can't work versus those who don't work. A guy who goes to my church owns his own company, and he says that for everyone who has ever asked him for money, he has offered them a job (not picking up leaves or something, but an actual job). He says thus far, no one has taken him up on his offer. They normally just say thanks anyway and move on.

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A guy who goes to my church owns his own company, and he says that for everyone who has ever asked him for money, he has offered them a job (not picking up leaves or something, but an actual job). He says thus far, no one has taken him up on his offer. They normally just say thanks anyway and move on.

I have absolutely no tolerance for people capable of working who won't. They are the dredges of society and deserve nothing from me. All they expect is to be lazy, produce absolutely nothing, and then have the unmitigated gall to expect everyone else to take care of them. As far as I am concerned, trying to live that type lifestyle should be illegal and not tolerated.

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I have absolutely no tolerance for people capable of working who won't. They are the dredges of society and deserve nothing from me. All they expect is to be lazy, produce absolutely nothing, and then have the unmitigated gall to expect everyone else to take care of them. As far as I am concerned, trying to live that type lifestyle should be illegal and not tolerated.

Being a "vagabond" was illegal in 18th century England. It didn't really work out though.

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Say a rickshaw might be a good job opportunity. I think I will start a business down there. I would bet they would be very popular. I am serious about being popular but not about pulling one around.

I am surprised there are not a lot of guys with window cleaner trying to clean your windows while stopped at a red light. I know in other cites I have visited that was a real problem.

I know there are a couple of panhandlers I see down there everyday on the same corners. I also know that if I gave them a buck every time I passed i would be broke. I watch them until a Metro officer comes by and all the sudden the cup they are holding disappears. Many of these guys just want something for nothing.

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One of the homeless folks decided to camp in my front doorway last night. I didn't seem him as I was going to open the door. Fortunately for him, one of my dogs saw him and gave him an earful. My dogs aren't vicious by any means, but it was good for the homeless guy that my hound was still in the lobby when she saw him. Dude broke camp real fast.

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One of the homeless folks decided to camp in my front doorway last night. I didn't seem him as I was going to open the door. Fortunately for him, one of my dogs saw him and gave him an earful. My dogs aren't vicious by any means, but it was good for the homeless guy that my hound was still in the lobby when she saw him. Dude broke camp real fast.

Yes, I was having a deck built on back of my house in East Nashville, and my contractor discovered a homeless person sleeping in the back yard amidst some trees that separate my yard from my neighbors. She offered him a job helping to build the deck, but he moved on. I'm actually surprised that the packs of roving dogs didn't attack him!

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