Monday, July 2, 2007

Can you picture Ryan and Sarno homeless?

Mayoral candidates in Nashville, Tennessee spent a night on the streets in June, trying to get a sense of what it means to be homeless and what Nashville can do about it. Why don't I think this will happen here?

Mayoral rivals spend a night on the streets

The vice mayor was bounced out of a bar after asking for a bag of potato chips at 3 a.m. Two councilmen walked the downtown streets hour after hour, rarely, if ever, sleeping. And the former city attorney struggled to catch some shut-eye on a bus-stop bench.

Those were some of the experiences of four Nashville mayoral candidates who went on an "urban plunge," seeing Nashville's downtown homeless community up close and personally.

The event was organized by the Nashville Homeless Power Project, which has become a very visible group lobbying Metro officials for housing and other services for the city's homeless population.

Each candidate said he came away with a new outlook on homelessness and what the city can — and, in some cases, can't — do about it.

The National Coalition for the Homeless has been organizing similar experiences for college students and others for the last 25 years. But the group's executive director, Michael Stoops, said it was the first time political candidates agreed to take part. "I think all people who run for office should be in touch with people living in poverty," Stoops said.

Read the Nashville Tennessean report here. Thanks to The 13th Juror for a lead on the story.

1 comment:

Mittineague said...

To be fair, one night of homelessness would be tough. It takes a while to learn where the resources are. What bridges and overpasses are safe to sleep under, when the dumpsters get "fresh" produce, where returnable cans are most easily gathered, etc.
Sadly, Springfield officials seem to be in need of an attitude adjustment that a similar experience may bring to them, but as said, it's not likely they're going to willingly try homelessness for themselves any time soon.