Hating the homeless

by Pete Talbot

The Salcido Center — a downtown daytime hangout for the homeless — was up for a hearing in a city government committee meeting. Apparently, it’s running short on funding and could use some help.  Salcido Center staff was asking the council to sign a letter asking the state for a grant.

First, kudos to the Baptists. They allow their facility at 308 W. Pine St. to be used for the daytime drop-in center. Dare I say it? It’s very Christian of them.

On the flip side of the coin is Councilwoman Renee Mitchell, Ward 5.  According to her, the folks using the Salcido Center want to be homeless and this place enables them.  Yup.  The homeless enjoy their addictions and dysfunctions and the traumas in their lives that have put them in their situations. And they love sleeping on the street. 

I’ve walked by the center a few times and I’m impressed.  On nice days, there are a few individuals outside catching a smoke. Otherwise, they’re inside: reading, resting, chatting with one another.  This place must make downtown business owners happy — fewer homeless hanging out in front of their shops, or in the alleys, or various parks and green spaces around the downtown area.  I imagine it makes the cops happy, too.  Plus, as I said earlier, it’s the Christian thing to do,

It should be noted that Ms. Mitchell was the only council member to NOT sign the letter.  (Councilwoman Hellegaard was absent.)  

Unfortunately, Ms. Mitchell isn’t up for election this year.

By the way, I got this news from the city’s listserve, produced by Ward 3’s Bob Jaffe.  It’s an invaluable site.

  1. Probably good for downtown businesses who hate the panhandling too.

    Renee Mitchell is anti-business.

  2. No-one chooses to suffer mental illnesses, schizophrenia, alcoholism and the like. These are so often the root causes of the situation that many folks who are homeless find themselves in.

    Shame on Renee Mitchell.

  3. good god. what is wrong with that woman?

    that is one nasty attitude.

  4. Lizard

    when i was an undergrad at UM more than a few years ago, there was a guy without a mailing address (homeless) by the name of tommy (not the leprechaun) who would sit on the footbridge by campus and draw these incredible ink drawings, which he sold for usually $10 bucks a pop.

    the reason i’m sharing this recollection is because Renee seems to think that ALL homeless people choose to be so, which is so untrue she should frankly be embarrassed.

    but it’s also not accurate to imply that there aren’t folks who live, year round, without official addresses, by choice.

    i just hope, as the economy gets worse, and resources get tighter, that people don’t focus on easy scapegoats, like homeless people, or immigrants, or drunk indians.

    stay focused on the real theft happening; the continuum of looting that didn’t begin with bush and won’t end with obama.

  5. Mel

    We need to think outside the box in order to solve the problem.
    The Mayor has recently opened up a campaign office downtown and it looks to be a large empty room. Couldn’t the Salcido Center move into there with the Mayor to save money?
    The homeless could work the phones during the day and after the campaign staff goes home for the day the folks with no where to go could sleep in the offices.
    Renee Mitchell would even support that.

    • We need to think outside the box in order to solve the problem.

      or, we could just direct them to renee’s house. i believe she’s in the phone book….

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