What's wrong with this picture?


In the article entitled “Coming to terms with the city’s homeless problem” by Jayson Whitehead in the July 15, 2008, issue, he states that with the closing of Hope Shelter there is no place for the homeless to go. The first problem I have with this article is that the hypocritical pretense for closing of this shelter is not addressed. Mayor Dave Norris, also the director of PACEM, which uses churches all over the city to offer temporary shelter for the homeless in the winter, cites zoning laws to support his action—the same laws he is willing to overlook to enable PACEM to proffer its services. These laws restrict churches from being used as residential dwellings.

The second problem with this article is that three of the area’s biggest programs for the homeless aren’t even mentioned. Those are: 1) SHE (Shelter for Help in Emergency), a shelter for abused women who have nowhere else to turn; 2) the Hope House, a MACCA transitional housing program for families who can stay in their program for up to six months; and 3) two Salvation Army programs: the Emergency Shelter with 58 beds; and Transitional Housing, which offers nine apartment units where residents can stay for up to two years.

I agree with Mr. Whitehead that the needs of the homeless are not being met in Charlottesville, but a comprehensive article about the local homeless situation needs to include the above-mentioned programs to offer a complete picture.

Peter Allen
Founder, Jaia Dev Ascension Network