Time to pool our resources for the area’s homeless

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 21, 2004

It is increasingly disturbing that every other news flash paints an even grimmer picture of our area’s homeless statistics.

Just last month, six families were evicted from the Suffolk Shelter for the Homeless just days before Thanksgiving.

Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Suffolk and other Hampton Roads localities have their backs against the wall as they grapple with meeting the heightened need to house the area’s homeless.

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The Union Mission in Norfolk, while it accepts homeless men, is forced to turn away mothers with children. Our local shelter accepts women with children, but not homeless men.

Although our economy continues to show signs of progress, the plight of the have-nots seemingly continues to spiral downward.

It’s time to take a different approach.

It’s clear that each locality has not been able to resolve the affordable housing crisis. The homeless dilemma, in part, boils down to the region’s lack of safe, decent and affordable housing. It’s also symptomatic of the lack of a cohesive plan to provide shelter for a growing portion of the region’s population, and the necessary social programs to address many of the factors that cause people to become homeless.

The time is now for the region to come together to nail down a plan to address the homeless crisis with more than just sermons about affordable housing.

There is power in numbers, and certainly such a consortium could tap into available federal grants for transitional housing and services. The lives of too many families in Hampton Roads depend on this action.

Someone must take this bull by the horns. Who will it be?