I believe there is a simple solution to loitering in front of the new Central Public Library branch in downtown. Neighbors could come together for a meeting and volunteer to be on the street in shifts in the area through out the week. Imagine if parents from Confluence School, employees and library enthusiasts from St. Louis Public Library Headquarters, loft owners from 1501 Locust, and volunteers from New Life Evangelistic Center were on the sidewalks together on weekend nights meeting one another, picking up trash, speaking to strangers, and encouraging healthy productive activities. Now, you might say, “That’s a pipe-dream. That’s too idealistic. Neighbors don’t do that anymore.” But I believe in the power of prayer, and that things don’t really change unless you talk about it first. So here I am, saying I think neighbors in Downtown West can stop demonizing each other and start being a positive influence in the neighborhood by getting to know one another. I have liked Friends of Lucas Park on Facebook. I have liked the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis on Facebook. I know they are not going away but are growing stronger everyday in the neighborhood. NLEC is not going to back down or sell out. It’s not going to stop sheltering the homeless and, like it or not, the homeless are not going to stop arriving in downtown. There are a thousand reasons why. So let’s start coming up with solutions that don’t involve “othering” people, demonizing them, or advocating for the dissolution of their most basic human rights. Life is hard. People are hard-headed. But God is good and there is a lot of hope. Downtown West has a lot to learn from the men and women at NLEC who work so hard to provide a space for thousands of people every month. It needs their kind of courage and resilience in the face of great change.
Tag Archives: homeless