Fayetteville should tackle homelessness now
As we in Northwest Arkansas bask in the spotlight of being such a wonderful place to live, we should consider what we need to work on to make it better. The real test of a community or of a society is the quality of life for its poorest people.
A recent survey documented a large and growing homeless “community” in Fayetteville. It is encouraging that our City Council is providing funds to help support 7 Hills, which provides shelter and services for homeless people.
I urge the mayor and council to go all in on this issue. Make it a funding priority. Make a statement that the people of Fayetteville do not accept that some of our citizens must fall through the cracks because it might cost too much to fix the cracks.
I believe we are smart enough and the people of Fayetteville are generous enough, if our leaders develop a good plan and market it. We are up to the challenge.
Seven Hills is a good place to start. Please look at other cities, including in Canada and other countries, that have effective programs to alleviate homelessness.
By all means, secure grants from the federal and state government, foundations and donors. But by all means challenge us as citizens of this great city to own this problem and deal with it proudly. If we lead, the rest of the region will follow.
This is an urgent issue because our current prosperity allows us to tackle it at a point where it is manageable. Many urban areas are overwhelmed by the size of such problems. We are not. We can deal with it, today, if we will. It will only be worse tomorrow.
Choose one: We want a large and growing homeless community. We do not accept a large and growing homeless community.
Make us proud with your choice. HOWELL MEDDERS