24 February 2004
It's a zoning issue
John Leo sneers at it:
Kansas City is establishing a "compassion zone" for homeless people just outside the downtown freeway loop. This is an upbeat way of announcing that the downtown area and most of the rest of the city are now compassion-free zones from which vagrants and homeless people will be expelled.
Well, it's not quite that simple:
There is advantage to the homeless in having them spend their days nearer the emergency shelters where many of them spend their nights. Better than wandering the streets of downtown all day.
And that's the aim here, building a daytime drop-in homeless shelter within easy walking distance of the City Union Mission and reStart Inc. Hence the compassion zone.
Still, whatever the motivations, the result is pretty much what Leo describes. Having spent a brief period many years ago without a roof over my head, I rather think I'd be incensed at being effectively walled off from part of the city. On the other hand, I don't think Kansas City aspires to be the next San Francisco, either.