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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Commission pushes homeless off the streets

By Editorial Board

First the city and now the county. For Gainesville and Alachua's homeless, it keeps getting worse and worse.

On Tuesday, the Alachua County Commission extended the city's ban on panhandling between motorists and people on the streets to the unincorporated areas throughout the county. The commission maintains it's doing this to keep the homeless safe, but something tells us it's more on the side of keeping motorists in their cars feeling safe.

The message the county seems to be sending is that it wants to help the homeless - but it doesn't want to see them.

Today, the Gainesville Police Department is posting trespass notices in Tent City to move the homeless out. More beds in the St. Francis House and at the Salvation Army will accommodate 600 people.

The county has its 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, but we are starting to think a more appropriate title would be "The 10-Year Plan to Make the Homeless Disappear."

It's not like the homeless will stop panhandling. Now those less fortunate may be more likely to approach you in parking lots where you aren't separated by an automatic window.

Homelessness won't go away with the wave of a wand or the signing of an ordinance. Hiding them inside of shelters doesn't mean they aren't homeless.

We acknowledge Gainesville is legitimately trying to help the homeless, but moving them off the streets will only hurt them more.

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