Benevolent Problem

For several months, there has been an ongoing effort to identify and address a supposed problem in Loudon County. Some have determined that we have a problem with homelessness in the county and they might be right to a point.

Loudon County is blessed with many wonderful and caring people and organizations many who's primary activities are helping those in need and that's what makes Loudon County such a great place to live.

Many, but not all, people who find themselves in financial trouble can trace their problems to poor choices they've made, sometimes over a lifetime.      

In this Obama economy, there's no doubt that a lot of people are struggling and even some may be facing the threat of being homeless. It is a noble endeavor that there are those who want to do something to help folks in need. However, the most noble and benevolent actions can have unintended consequences.

Below is a cautionary story of some of the problems one community is facing due to the kindness and generosity of others. As county officials and citizens continue to explore the possibilities of helping those in need, consideration must be given to the impact that kindness and generosity to others can have on the community.

If you build it, they will come.

North Knoxville home and business owners reject more homeless services


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)--Home and business owners in North Knoxville say they don't want more charities in their backyard. Neighbors say Broadway isn't the "mission district".

Lauren Rider is cleaning dishes in the Old North Knoxville home she and her husband renovated. She's also trying to clean up her neighborhood. Lauren Rider says, "The real root problem isn't being addressed"

She's talking about so many homeless services in one place.

Lauren Rider says, "There are other areas of the city they can locate in and put recipients in other areas where services are like veterans services or social security."

KARM serves 1000 meals a day and offers shelter. The Salvation Army is across the street. Many other businesses from around the region also bring their charity to the area. Rider says if you're an organization thinking about starting a charity do it in another part of town. Rider says, "What we're really lacking is someone to address their healthcare needs. Mental healthcare and physical health care is needed."

It's a headache for business owners too because just driving down the street turns people off. Cleaning up after the homeless is a full time job. Vinyard Floor Covering Owner Jim Wright says, "They have to go out and pick up trash wrappers and cups to keep the place looking good. I'm one of those."

Not to mention panhandling is keeping customers away and now business owners are calling for a change. Wright says, "It's just the concentration of services and they need to be dispersed. It would certainly help the businesses in this area."