Is Columbia’s impasse over the homeless at (or at least near) an end?

Does this mean what I think it means — that after Columbia city council has resisted and undermined every effort by other community leaders to meaningfully address the city’s homelessness problem, we may finally be on our way to a comprehensive solution?

Columbia is getting out of the homeless services business, laying off two employees and outsourcing its winter shelter operations to the University of South Carolina for $500,000 a year.

The three-year agreement means the shelter, which city officials promised in 2007 would only be used for two years, will remain open until at least 2012.

USC will not operate the shelter past 2012, opting instead to partner with the Midlands Housing Alliance, a group of business leaders and service providers that plans to build an $11.6 million homeless shelter on Main Street….

Perhaps by surrendering control, the city has accomplished what Congress did with BRAC — given up on something it was politically incapable of handling, and letting someone else make the right decision. This BRACish approach was tried before, and then the council grabbed the issue back with dire results. Maybe it will work this time…

Or am I reading this wrong?

3 thoughts on “Is Columbia’s impasse over the homeless at (or at least near) an end?

  1. Karen McLeod

    Ah, we’re bussing in and bussing out of the immediate area. And I hear that NY (or some other large city) is giving homeless folk one way bus tickets to other towns/cities. I have an idea! Let’s expand this bus idea further. Let’s put our homeless on busses going elsewhere. Other towns and cities can do the same. Homeless people are bussed to this city. We simply meet them with a ticket to further on down the line. They don’t even have to leave the bus terminal. Greyhound and Trailways can take over the homeless shelter industry. Problem solved nationwide! Perhaps we can even designate “homeless” and “homeless free” busses and waiting rooms. Oh, fun!


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