OrlandoÃs city government will be making history for itself tonight during a public meeting on its Ã¬vagrant problemÃ® in the downtown area. The meeting is a brilliant idea, and the city of Orlando should be proud of itself for taking an initiative like this.
However, the current view of the downtown community and organizations involved in the proposed project give the impression that they are more concerned for themselves than for the homeless, by bickering over money and showing more concern for themselves than the community. In order to truly make a change in their city, those attending this meeting should make sure they protect everyoneÃs interests.
The Orlando Sentinel reported Monday that this meeting would be an open forum for anyone who wishes to speak on the issue of homelessness in downtown Orlando. Some business owners have said they find the homeless people a burden, but offer no viable solutions. Some plan to attend the meeting solely to complain about the situation, which defeats the entire purpose.
WhatÃs even more upsetting is that organizations that are advocates for the homeless object to implementing plans recommended by the Florida Institute of Government at the University of Central Florida because it would involve pooling their monetary resources. Very few non-profit organizations are willing to do this, because every cent counts when it comes to funding their own projects and salaries, even if it is contrary to their mission statement.
The business people of downtown Orlando, the city officials, the homeless people themselves and homeless agency representatives need to put whatever selfish motives they may have aside and actually make a difference in their city. They could create a series of shelters that provide job training, interview attire, or just meals and a bed. And, as crazy as it may seem, the business owners could employ some themselves. Without real attempts at change, they should just consider the entire event an organized whining session.