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Where to locate centralized homeless services?


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After the Four Corners of Hope proposal fell thru there has been

much discussion in the press and community about where to

locate a homeless shelter. I have spent a year geographically

analyzing food pantry visitors. By happenstance I discovered one

of the four businessmen lived across the street from me. I toyed

with data I had on businesses and the tools to be used in the

process instead of an actual location. I had a few simple ideas

and have written these up at Centralized Homeless Services

I'm very curious if these has merit and what readers here

think of the prolem. Who better to explore the issue than

the readers here?

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Man, this is great! Have you shared this with anyone "official"? I don't have time to devote a lot of thought to it right now, but I'll take a look later and try to post something constructive. Great stuff. IMO, it's too bad about the 4 Corners proposal... but I'm sure something acceptable will be worked out.

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Here is the latest on this from WIS...

(Columbia) Nov. 9, 2004 - The Lou and Beth Holtz Shelter on Hampton Street was supposed to open for the season next Monday, but it is open Tuesday night and maybe longer, if needed. At least one other shelter is also ready for people looking for a way to stay warm.

It was still shirtsleeve weather in Columbia on Tuesday afternoon, but the cold is coming. Wayne Fields says preparations were underway at the Oliver Gospel Mission to take in more than the usual contingent of homeless men, "Extra 32 stay right here in our day room. We move all our chairs and tables out of the way and we have mats and they sleep right in here."

The mission and other agencies are ready to deal with Tuesday night's cold snap, but Columbia is still struggling to find long-term solutions for the homeless problem. Mayor Bob Coble is setting up a summit on the issue to be held next month, "I think the only way to do it is to get as much as we can, a community-wide consensus on what we should have, and where it should be. If we don't do that, we're going to be faced with the issue of people freezing to death in the winter. And that's not an overstatement, that's a fact."

Coble and other community leaders thought they were on the verge of a breakthrough with a plan to convert a Shop Road warehouse into a central location for the homeless and the services they need. The proposal fell through, partly due to community opposition, partly after the Oliver Mission decided not to take part.

Attorney Leighton Lord and a group called "Four Corners of Hope" had been pushing the plan, "We still think our vision of a comprehensive center to serve the homeless is a good vision. If the homeless summit decides that it is, we're ready to get back and work on it some more."

Fields has a different take, "Unity does necessarily equal being in the same building. You see that in all phases of life, that organizations can work in a unified manner even though they might not be under the same roof."

Mayor Coble says something needs to be done soon, "It would be a shame if we can't solve this problem both by providing service to the homeless individuals and managing it in a way that we can all live with."

The Holtz Shelter is heading into its last season at the Hampton Street location. Coble and the city council also say the city needs to have a shelter that's available year round, not just when it gets cold.

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To date I've not shared this with anyone other than mail a

few maps to my neighbor. My idea was to simply visualize

the places of conflict and demonstrate how technology

could help fairly minimize that. There is real political work

to be done in choosing likely locations. Nobody will want to

be near a new shelter. I could further add to the decision

making process by population density maps or mapping

householders. I like point data and with voter or credit

records you could identify most people by name to get

very accurate distances to the prospective sites.

If you know a decision maker in the process by all means

share. This was just a few ideas I threw around. Thanks

for the positive feedback!!

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