Does Greenville Need a Homeless Court?

If you’ve spent any amount of time in Greenville’s downtown, then it should be no surprise to you that our community has a large homeless population. Often times many of us are enjoying the parks, restaurants, and other sights of the downtown that draw visitors from across the country, while a few streets away hundreds in the homeless community are eating a free breakfast served by volunteers at John Wesley UMC on Spring Street, showering and washing clothes at United Ministries’ Place of Hope on Pendleton Street, or worshipping at the Triune Mercy Center on Rutherford Street.

homelessThe bridge-dwelling of a family of 4 & pup near downtown Greenville

Greenville is unique in that several agencies partner together to serve this growing homeless community. It has gained the reputation as a ”hot spot” for the homeless, in fact, it has been reported that cities across the U.S. have purchased bus tickets for the homeless to send them here.

A coalition of homeless service providers under the Upstate Homeless Coalition meet monthly to partner and discuss the current trends in national, state, and local matters affecting low-income and homeless populations. Homes of Hope is a part of this coalition. At recent meetings an idea has been proposed to create a homeless court in Greenville which would assist those who are already destitute to resolve misdemeanor charges and move forward. For those who are already homeless and lacking finances, a $400 ticket for sleeping in a car is a hard bargain. Rather than requiring payment or jail-time, the homeless court would require community service to resolve these matters. The Houston Chronicle talks about their success with the idea in yesterday’s article.

So we are curious, what is your opinion on the matter? Take our poll or comment to weigh-in on the discussion.