Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

June 28, 2013

Homeless: A move in the right direction

VALDOSTA — Moving several people living beneath the James Beck Overpass to an undisclosed tent city does not cure the problem of homelessness in Valdosta, but it seems to be a step in the right direction.

For several months, a homeless population has lived under the overpass. Church groups and others have been regularly bringing them food and items during the past year. Late last year, The Times ran a series of articles on the people living under the overpass, but many of those people have since moved on while others moved in.

In recent weeks, the overpass population has increased. City officials and police received more complaints regarding the people under the overpass. Complaints ranging from indecent exposure to health concerns.

An easy answer may have been to tell these people with no apparent place to go to move on. Some cities may have simply toughened vagrancy laws or arrested people.

Instead, in Valdosta, city council members, city police officials and homeless advocacy groups are trying an alternative path.

On Wednesday, the overpass population was moved to an undisclosed area, offered by an anonymous property owner. The location offers tents, porta-potties and a few other amenities. Many volunteers who have regularly brought food and items to the overpass may continue coordinating with officials to bring meals and other items to the people in this new location.

Advocacy groups plan to offer training to help these people find work and housing while offering them opportunities to learn how to keep and maintain both.

This tent city is not a “forever” option. The people moved there will have 90 days to make the most of this opportunity.

Meanwhile, city officials do not plan to allow the underside of the James Beck Overpass to again become a homeless village within Downtown Valdosta. No trespassing signs have been posted at the overpass, and Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress has instructed his officers to direct possible violators to the area’s homeless advocates.

The move is not a long-term solution, but it is a move that has possibilities of helping those in need, in helping those who want to turn their lives around.

It would seem the city has remembered the words spoken by Jesus in Matthew 25:40: “... Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Text Only
What We Think
  • Countdown for voter apathy

    If you don’t think your vote counts, talk to Ellis Black and John Page today.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vote to remove signs

    Congratulations to the winners in the primary runoff election Tuesday.

    July 23, 2014

  • Runoff election counts today

    Today is an election day that started just a little more than two months ago.

    July 21, 2014

  • PSST! Only one week left

    Peach State Summer Theatre enters its final week of performances for the 2014 season. This means there are only a few more opportunities left to see “Mary Poppins,” “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” and “42nd Street.”

    July 20, 2014

  • The wisdom of animals

    Animals may be smarter than us. If you don’t think so take a look at how we humans deal with the oppressive heat of summer. Compare our activities with those of animals.

    July 19, 2014

  • Welcoming home the ‘Unseen Project’

    Two months ago, they embarked on an ambitious endeavor: Two friends, riding on motorcycles criss-crossing the United States, followed by a film crew, on a faith-based tour to find America the Unseen.

    July 17, 2014

  • A downtown church’s faith

    First Baptist Church made a leap of faith this past weekend.

    July 16, 2014

  • Overpass has double potential

    They say it will be here sooner than we think.

    July 16, 2014

  • Precautions for what’s left of summer

    Summer is a time of rest, vacations and trips. It is a time when school is out, when people take time off from work, when people may stay out a little later. It is a time of swimming, trying new things, and seeking adventure.

    July 14, 2014

  • Golf tourney battles cancer

    Battling cancer seems a never-ending war. Yet, for anyone who has ever had cancer, for anyone who has a friend or relative who has struggled against cancer, it is a battle worth waging.

    July 13, 2014

Top News

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results