The stars all lined up for the homeless –Deidra White @ LCDP 2013-07-02

The homeless formerly living under the James Beck Overpass now have homes and most have jobs, said Valdosta City Council Deidra White at last night’s Lowndes County Democratic Party Annual 4th of July Barbecue.

White said the encampment under the overpass had been growing for some time, and people in her district, which contains the overpass, were increasingly concerned yet had had little success in dealing with the situation.

Deidra White speaking at Lowndes County Democratic Party July 4th BBQ So I contacted many people in the community, homeless advocates, churches, governmental, civil, nonprofits; anyone that I’ve ever come across who has ever worked in any capacity helping with the homeless situation. And in a very,almost seemingly the stars all lined up a couple of weeks ago. Many people came together to do something about the specific eleven homeless persons who were living under the James Beck Overpass.

A private citizen donated property and said that they could stay on this property for a temporary time until we find a permanent solution. Members of the homeless coalition immediately began identifying potential employers….

She referred listeners to the recent newspaper stories for some details, and then continued:

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Gretchen Quarterman, LCDP Chair, and Deidra White, Valdosta City Council District 2 Other individuals committed they wanted to bring food every day to the location. Other commitments were made to help with personal facilities that were not available at the overpass. And, to my surprise, there have been some criticism publicly about all this effort that was set for in regard to

  1. the residents of the south side
  2. the homeless persons in particular

She said this was an example of what she does, and she’s not a speaker; she’s a work horse, not show horse.

And then she had news:

As of today, regarding the temporary voluntary location, four of the eleven homeless persons were helped within 48 hours and moved to permanent locations. Two now have jobs. Three more now have permanent locations, and only four remain on our schedule to be relocated before, I believe by tomorrow is the deadline.

Now, homelessness is an issue all over our nation; we all know this. Homelessness is our issue --Deidra White And lots of time it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. And I want to tell you it is not the responsibility or in the scope of a local government to take this on. This is an issue that we as citizens, that our churches, our nonprofits, that every one of us, this is our issue. It is not “our local government’s responsibility”. It’s impossible for local government to take this on, in my opinion, I don’t think that’s the place. It’s the place of caring community members like ourselves.

So, on behalf of these eleven homeless persons who have been relocated, and who have now been positioned to improve their situation greatly. Their position was immediately improved by the donation of tents to sleep in instead of just out on the ground. If you want to speak with me about it later I will be happy to. But the points I want to make specifically are. The city council representatives are here to be the voice for our little area. And you listen to your constituents and you do to the best of the ability to represent them and what their needs are.

She continued saying she had done that and would continue to do so.

Regarding local government and the homeless, seems to me she just demonstrated how local government just did deal with the overpass situation. Government doesn’t just mean passing laws or paying for things. More importantly it means providing coordination, forums, and, as she said, a voice for the community.

The VDT has run a long series of articles on the homeless situation:

Here’s the video:

The stars all lined up for the homeless –Deidra White
July 4th BBQ, Lowndes County Democratic Party (LCDP),
Gretchen Quarterman (Chair), Dennis Marks (Vice-Chair / Elections), Amanda Hall (Vice-Chair / Membership), Richard Saeger (Vice-Chair / Qualifying), Jerrell Anderson (Secretary), James J. Parker (Treasurer),
Video by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes County Democratic Party (LCDP), Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 2 July 2013.