Ending ‘urban camping’ doesn’t solve real problem



I read with interest your recent article in the Revue and News regarding the homeless ban in Alpharetta [Alpharetta to ban homelessness, Nov. 21]. I applaud your covering this story as it can be a sensitive issue.

I was made aware of the new law banning "urban camping" last Sunday when I spoke with Mr. Walton, the gentleman living at the gas station. He had in his possession a notice of eviction for the following morning.

You see, Mr. Walton had been on my mind and in my prayers for quite some time. As a runner, I passed him frequently and we waved and smiled at one another. As the days grew colder, it became harder for me to ignore his circumstance.

Last Sunday, through a series of events and the help of four other people, my husband and I had the privilege of driving Mr. Walton to a shelter in Gainesville.

I am telling you this because your article infers that the Police Department was assisting the homeless, finding them shelter. Officer Clay did play a part in helping this man but she was not the catalyst, nor did she find the shelter – neighbor Kerry Downs played that role.

The officer was instrumental in getting Mr. Walton to trust our plan to help him. By inferring the Police Department was and is actively aiding the homeless is misleading at best and makes the ban on urban camping more palatable to the citizens of Alpharetta.

Mr. Walton was in our midst for a reason. He was the face of something we all want to pretend doesn't exist. Banning "urban camping" allows everyone to live a more comfortable life. I would have been much more impressed with the mayor and City Council if they would have come up with some ideas for helping these people, not just removing them from our sight.



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