Meanwhile, Back at Main Street Garden, More Questions About How to Handle Homeless

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Surely you didn't think you'd heard the last about the homeless sleeping in Main Street Garden ...

A few weeks after council member Angela Hunt tweeted about the "bums" in the downtown park, KXAS-Channel 5 sent its cameras to see what was what during the pre-dawn hours of Friday morning. And, sure enough, there were more than a few folks sleeping here and there 'round the park, much to the distress of some women out walking their dogs or getting in some exercise before work. To which Dallas PD spokesman Kevin Janse said, "We are taking the necessary steps to hopefully curtail it as far as assigning additional officers out there."

That prompted a Saturday-morning follow-up from my old pal Scott Henson, who serves Grits for Breakfast and wonders if perhaps the answer doesn't lie in "supportive long-term housing for the chronically homeless," which, of course, comes with its own controversies, as evidenced by the fight over a proposed complex near First Presbyterian downtown.

So the question becomes: Do cities want to manage the problem as a criminal justice issue, with homeless people either outdoors in the street or locked up the jail, or are urban neighborhoods better off when the homeless have a place to go? It may not be great for property values to have low-or-no rent housing on your block, but isn't that better than people lying on sidewalks and park benches? Supportive housing keeps those it serves off the street at night, as well as creating one-stop-shopping venues to provide mental-health, addiction, employment and other services to help folks get back on their feet. It's expensive, but so is dispatching police, taking people to jail, treating mental illness through the justice system, trying to process Class C tickets on people with no address, or busing people to far away shelters.

Read the whole thing here.

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