HomeOpinionOpinion: Augusta Commissioners Spar Over Homelessness in City

Opinion: Augusta Commissioners Spar Over Homelessness in City



There’s no place like homelessness to start a row on the Augusta Commission.

At Tuesday’s meeting Commissioner Catherine McKnight presented pictures of homeless people around Augusta, mainly to show how that population has increased around Washington Road in west Augusta.

I would say that pop...

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  1. Typically Jordan’s city committee is all talk and no action. I’m still waiting on action from Comm. Jordan who I asked help to clean up the overgrown littered Emily Tubman Monument on Greene. The homeless need a location to go and loiter. (Maybe “JORDAN’S PORCH” would be a suitable location) In front of Sacred Heart Cultural Center is not a good location. Augusta needs “NO LOITERING” signs put up every where. What say pay homeless $100 incentive to pick up trash along Broad St & the Greene St median.

    • Pay the homeless to pick up the trash along the road. An idea that sounds good but really isn’t…and that’s because I see the money drying up, and then the homeless trash-pickeruppers start throwing down more trash than they pick up to insure the program can’t go on without them!
      Now, don’t say that would never happen, because it could. After all, this is Augusta we’re talking about.

  2. Thanks to McKnight for displaying the visuals and leadership. I hope she never joins the “team” down there. Being wrong is not a fun team to be on. Getting along is a team that accomplishes very little. Leadership is lacking in our community.

    • “Leadership is lacking…..” Jeff well said but you are too kind. In the 18 months since my wife and I moved back to Augusta my observation is this. Our city government, specifically our elected officials, as a group are an embarrassment. Not singling anyone or any one issue out just as a collective they are long on talking and completely void of collaboration and producing any cohesive plan on much of anything. Enough said….for now

  3. I think if there was a background check on these homeless people many would run for the hills because they are hiding out from law enforcement from other states for crimes committed. We have housed many a murderer and rapist. Not all of course fall in that category, but we could sure get rid of the troublemakers.

  4. A one-way bus ticket from Augusta to San Francisco costs a little over $200. Take some the the America Rescue Plan funds, buy every homeless person in Augusta a bus ticket to San Francisco, give them $100 cash for food and drinks en route, and make them loyal Democratic supporters of Gavin Newsom, Nancy Pelosi, and Dianne Feinstein. They apparently like people defecating and urinating on the sidewalks and panhandling for alcohol, drugs, and sometimes food. This idea is a better use of that money than giving people $100 to get a COVID vaccination, but the commissioners won’t get any votes out of it.

  5. Commissioner Bobby Williams apparently has a better understanding of this issue than most. I would suggest to you that the ability of any group to return a homeless person to the ranks of productive citizen, quite frankly, in the 3-6% range. These represent the people who want a “hand up” rather than a “hand out”. They are generally in this situation because of unfortunate circumstances and lack of proper education/job skills. Then there are the 45% of all homeless who have mental health issues which preclude them from leading a “normal” life. Georgia, by the way is number 50 on the list of states with regard to mental healthcare accessibility. And the last big group are those who have adopted homelessness as a lifestyle, often suffer with addiction and alcoholism and want no part of changing. Just ask any law enforcement office who has been on the job over two years… We need to be absolutely sure that we understand what we are dealing with and what it is that we are trying to accomplish before we start building anything. A rush to resolve this multifaceted problem is very much ill advised. A calm, unemotional and professional approach to one of the world’s big problems is what we need. As the mysterious voice in “The Field of Dreams” advised Ray Kinsella, “Build it and they will come.” I am unsure that is what we want… Indeed, that may be what has already happened.

  6. Want to know what the “leadership” of Augusta is incompetent? Just read the committees and positions of responsibility that Sias was put on and had after he was found to allegedly be misappropriating funds and the FBI had unknowingly been investigating him for years. They were all positions on the commission of being responsible for allocating and handling of taxpayer funds . That’s crazy to put him in charge of anything to do with money. That’s like putting a kid in charge of a candy jar. And from what I read Marian Williams and Moses Todd seemed to be the only ones who continually over a period of time tried to get people to recognize what he was doing and how stupid it was to put the fox in the hen house and then lock the door with the fox in it. And, it all lies right at the feet of the commission and commissioners who were gutless in overseeing what was happening.

  7. Why don’t we learn from the homeless how we can better adapt to the new covid normal ?
    I see them during the day huddled in large groups with no masks , no social distancing , no hand washing, no vaccinating, partaking in common collective sources of drink, food, and yet not one word mentioned here of the incredibly high death and infection rates among the homeless encampments ?
    It seems that they are virtually impervious to the current pandemic that has so circumscribed the rest of society.
    What is it that provides such protection for them , that all the masks, distancing , gloves , hand washing , isolation, vaccinating does not do squat for the rest of society ?
    Why is not all of our local medical institutions studying and looking into this great anti-virulent advantage the homeless enjoy that we may benefit as well ?
    Could it be that constant exposure to the elements provides a protective immunity that we refuse to consider as we turn up our noses at the homeless ?
    Why is their incredibly low rates of covid infection and death not

    • The homeless probably do suffer the same percentages ranging from mild illness to death caused by COVID, there just aren’t enough of them to make it notable. Even if they had double the hopsitalization and death rates of the average citizen, who is keeping count?

  8. Bobby Williams actually said “nothing can be done because a lot of these people want to be homeless (I’m paraphrasing). An elected official said that? Ever been homeless Commissioner? It is a GREAT lifestyle who wouldn’t want to sleep behind a dumpster? Huddle under an old porch roof to get out of the rain? Go a day or more without a meal? You are spot on, what great insight.

    Do you and those that share this view have any idea how many of those human beings have mental illness? Have you spent time at our food banks and shelters talking to the homeless and the devoted staff that actually know these human beings? Do you have an clue on how difficult it is to get counseling? I
    am a fortunate guy with the means to pay for a therapist and psychiatrist ( oh forgot to mention I’m a recovering alcoholic with Bi- polar disorder) and it took me 6 MONTHS to get in to see someone when I moved back to Augusta. Learn who these human beings are and then perhaps you can begin to understand some of the underlying issues. You don’t need a bigger travel budget just walk around our city look, listen and learn.

    One last item for those that want to discard me as a “snowflake or crazy liberal” whatever those terms mean. I’m a right center political guy who retired from the special warfare community as a Command Master Chief. I love our local law enforcement departments and check too many of the “conservative blocks” to list. So save it. Right is right and these human beings are not a problem they are an opportunity for us to help them and become a model for other cities to do the same.

    John Gregory Vincent – MBA
    Command Master Chief – submarines (retired)

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