There is no doubt that there is a homeless problem in our community.
As our city continues to grow rapidly year after year, it seems like more homeless people appear. We have stated in several previous editorials that we can’t turn a blind eye to the homeless people in our community, especially as the winter months are quickly approaching.
There are several nonprofit organizations in our community that work year-round to provide shelter, meals, clothes, counseling and assistance in gaining employment to the homeless. Enough can’t be said about all of the good these organizations do on a daily basis for homeless people.
One such nonprofit that does a lot of good for the homeless in our community is Room in the Inn, a coalition of about two dozen Bowling Green-area churches that provides shelter and food to the city’s homeless population during the winter months. Last year, Room in the Inn served 127 people and provided 2,300 bed nights.
Room in the Inn, which started six years ago under the umbrella of the Homeless and Housing Coalition of South Central Kentucky, has been operating out of the Grace Place building on East 11th Avenue that is affiliated with State Street United Methodist Church. But structural issues led to that site’s closing.
Now, the nonprofit is without a physical structure in which to operate and is looking to find a new headquarters as its time to serve meals and provide shelter is soon to begin, running from Nov. 15 through March 15.
Even with more than 20 churches on board to provide food, shelter or transportation, organizers are looking for more congregations to help, either through donations or through volunteering to be a host site.
One problem that organizers of Room in the Inn have is the perception from potential renters about homeless people moving into their properties. They say they have found some potential commercial properties downtown, but property owners are fearful when they’re told that homeless people will be coming in.
We understand that some landowners could be somewhat hesitant about homeless people living in their properties, but we would hope they would see that they are people too who have needs and need a place to lay their heads and eat warm meals while they attempt to get back on their feet.
We really hope that Room in the Inn does find a suitable building to operate out of to help the homeless in our community.