A discussion of what seems to be a significant problem on Capitol Square. I’ve been noticing it all summer, perhaps because the bus shelters aren’t being used due to the construction and re-routing. Every time I walk downtown, there are groups of homeless people sitting on the benches, camped out in the bus shelters, and the like. I’ve heard some complaints from local business people, and I’m sympathetic to them. It’s hard to attract customers to your business when they have to pass through a gauntlet of men and women to get there. The article seems to suggest that the police are lenient because they don’t want these people to move out into the neighborhoods or parks.
It’s one thing to walk around the square, it’s quite another to try to get into the public library. In all the time I spend on the square, I never see anyone, police or social services, engaging the men and women who sit around on the benches or on the library steps. Does anyone reach out to them, find out what’s going on, try to connect them with the services that might help them escape this life?
In my experience, the business women and men on the square are patient, understanding, and interested in helping to find solutions to homelessness that would provide shelter and services.