Regarding “The elephant in Hillsborough County’s backyard” (Other Views, Jan. 17): Bishop Robert Lynch has summoned the entire Tampa Bay area to be good Samaritans in our own backyard and encouraged leadership to emerge regarding homelessness.
In a November 2013 report Rethink Homelessness prepared for Impact Homelessness, researchers surveyed 10 very different communities throughout the U.S. meeting the challenges of homelessness. They found that successfully addressing the homelessness challenge is not about finding the silver bullet; it is about building a broad community ethic. It is not “those people” anymore — it’s us, and we need to care.
Homelessness shreds our fragile social fabric and drains a community of dollars and sense. Ignoring it just costs more and eats away at our moral foundation to take care of others. Eventually, we are desensitized and accept the new normal of a beggar on most every corner.
The report concludes with a challenge to our community leaders. Homelessness is both a community problem and a leadership opportunity. Surveyed communities spoke of how a passionate and credible leader focuses the community’s attention on homelessness, how collaborative teams use data, engage citizens and manage change, and how important involvement of the business sector is.
Bishop Lynch has summoned our entire Tampa Bay area community to come and journey with him, building leadership, breaking down silos and sharing better data — all in service to our vulnerable neighbors to illuminate their life of darkness.
His is also a clear summons for passionate and credible leaders to step up, focus the community’s attention on the task at hand and publicly proclaim their commitment to end homelessness.
We can’t risk snubbing his renewed attempts to help our brothers and sisters in our own backyard.