Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I have a good case manager. Though she's been working on my case a short while, she's already achieved more than I have done on my own. Sure, she's doing a lot of hand holding, but that's just what is needed at this point. For two years I've been telling myself that I needed to go down to the Social Security Office and get a copy of my Social Security Card. But I never did. Well, we've already taken care of that. And she's collected other important papers and documents in preparation for applying for services for myself. Just knowing that she's involved in the process, helps me to keep appointments. And as difficulties present themselves, she's quick to get me talking about them, and working through them, so that I don't self destruct - which is my normal M.O. - I've not received such care from any other case manager, or homeless service provider. The city is paying for this service - thank you, Mr and Mrs taxpayer.

It's still going to be while before I get into housing, which is our main goal.

You really can never trust a bigot. And bigots we have in downtown Nashville. And though the situation has significantly changed, their story stays the same. The big business folks and the loft dwellers have long complained about the homeless downtown. This immediately raised red flags for me cause I could see the problems coming. First of all, the word "homeless" is used to label a lot of very different types of people, with the only thing in common being that they are homeless. Then these big business and loft dweller people got more specific in defining their case, saying that homeless people were panhandling, peeing and defecating in public. Well that is a serious charge, and no doubt some homeless people were doing those things, but not all of them, not even the majority of them, and obviously some non-homeless people are doing those things too. But these non-homeless downtown people enlisted the help of politicians to bring the heat down on the homeless, and the homeless population in downtown Nashville did change. Some of the things they did were effective towards their goals, and somethings weren't, but they aren't splitting hairs that closely. Arresting aggressive panhandlers went a long way towards cleaning up the streets of the anti-social behavior of the homeless. Shutting down the mobile soup kitchens only made life worse for many homeless people, and did nothing to bring about the desired effect. But the initiators of these tactics really don't care.

Now, a great improvement has been made in downtown Nashville. The pesky panhandlers and others whose behavior was questionable, have been run off from downtown, or those homeless have learned their lesson, and are not bothering the good folks like they used to. I can't even remember the last time I was panhandled walking along Church Street and 5th Ave North. It used to be a daily occurrence. For all this, you'd think that everyone working and living downtown would be happy, and we'd finally have some peace in the city. Hell no.

The same people are still making the same complaints. They look at Church St Park and see it's full of homeless people, and they pitch a fit. And they make all the same complaints they always have about the homeless. The thing is, the homeless people now occupying the park are nearly all very good and law abiding citizens. They keep mostly to themselves, they don't panhandle or otherwise bother other people, and they pick up after themselves. And this little point is so important. And it belies the truth of the loft dwellers and big business men and women. They are still pointing at bad behavior of the homeless people, which really no longer exists, as the excuse for trying to run ALL homeless people own of downtown. It's not so much the bad behavior of the homeless, but just the general existence of homeless people near where they live, that's got them so upset. This is true prejudice and bigotry - the unequal enforcement of rights and privileges based on cultural and economic differences. It's ugly.

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