The Daily Gamecock

Homeless not a safety concern for community, local businesses

Columbia should focus on real issues

On Monday, I read a news article in The State regarding the plight of “the homeless” in downtown Columbia. But to my surprise, the story didn’t focus necessarily on the struggles on being homeless in a city known for being famously hot in the dead of summer or how people who don’t have easy access to the things most of us take for granted. Instead, it focused on how “the homeless” represent a safety concern for local businesses and the people who shop there.

How cold and insensitive as a community have we become that we neglect to even emphasize about the struggles of a wide and diverse group of people and instead lump them all together as something to be feared?

Yes, it may be true that Columbia has a problem with a select few members of our community that are homeless, and sadly, it’s also true that there are members both within and outside of our community who can only view “the homeless” as a blight on our society that prevents businesses from creating “sustainable business models” and from shoppers and store employees to feel safe within the “confines of [their] buildings.”

This column is not meant as a criticism to the author of this news story, nor the businesses, the politicians and various Columbia residents that were featured or even commented on this particular piece. However, I hope we all realize, that people who just happen to be homeless are unequivocally people first.

They have feelings and emotions and they are fundamentally no different than you or I — with the exception that they probably don’t fear us when we walk down the street going on about our everyday lives.