Another perspective of city services for the homeless

I received the following e-mail yesterday from James E. Kirkpatrick, Jr. I do not know him. He describes himself as a homeless man.

Here’s his letter:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is with great sadness and disappointment that I submit this letter for your attention and consideration. After several trips to the city’s new homeless help center, Gateway 24/7 Homeless Service Center, I have determine that much of what has been promised is not actually being delivered.

The center’s name would lead one to believe that assistance would be available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. This is not the case. The men’s shelter is still not open and most other services can only be obtained during the hours the center is actually open-which by the way is 10 am until 5 pm.

The center’s literature also promises food and water. While there are water fountains available, no food is currently being served. Therefore, if a man or woman wants to shower and change clothes, he or she will have to fore-go eating lunch that day. Most of the other places that offer lunch do so between the hours of 10 am and 1 pm. Gateway’s shower facilities and clothing closet are open from 10 am until 2 pm. Hence, the conflict arises concerning whether to eat lunch or to maintain personal cleanliness.

In the advertisement on page 2 of the August 4-August 10, 2005 edition of Creative Loafing, I noticed that the Gateway slogan is “offering a path to ending homelessness in Atlanta.” I have talked with several other homeless men and women here in Atlanta, and the general consensus seems be that the only useful service Gateway is currently offering is the hot showers. To be truly effective in helping people to exit homelessness, an atmosphere must be created which will encourage people to come in and receive the services that are being offered.

I realize that Gateway is still new and that it will take time to work out some of the kinks. However, some things should be common sense. I believe that everyone wants to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless what their housing situation happens to be. Sadly, Gateway falls short in this area as well.

I wish that someone could discreetly pay a visit to this center and witness the way in which homeless people are actually being treated. I’m sure that if you made an “official” visit, you would not see how things actually transpire on a daily basis. This center has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of many homeless individuals. What a shame it would be if this opportunity is lost due to the mismanagement of the center.

Thank you for taking the time to hear my opinion. I sincerely hope that you will use your influence to help ensure that this center is run correctly. Every individual that is able to escape homelessness and become a contributing member of society will help make Atlanta a better place to live.


James E. Kirkpatrick, Jr.

13 Comments so far

  1. karsh (unregistered) on August 10th, 2005 @ 10:24 pm

    This is an interesting look at how the ones whom the Gateway Center is supposed to help are actually being served. I went on one of the “official” tours a week before the Center was open and I’ll admit, the facility was nice but they didn’t really try to show anything as operational.

    Interesting though that the panhandling legislation goes back up in front of the city council on the 15th (and a lot of homeless people plan to protest it), just one day before the NASCAR Hall of Fame committee comes into town and views the Aquarium.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if that protest gets pushed back a day.

  2. mae (unregistered) on August 11th, 2005 @ 1:01 pm

    this guy is homeless for a reason: VICTIM MENTALITY

  3. Andisheh Nouraee (unregistered) on August 11th, 2005 @ 2:29 pm

    Mae, what the hell are you talking about? You don’t know the first thing about this man. All he has written is that a) the center isn’t being run the way the city and some of the media are saying that it’s being run and b) that escaping homelessness is a good thing.

    Why don’t you reserve your judgement for long enough to, oh, ASK HIM about how he became homeless?

  4. True Believer (unregistered) on August 11th, 2005 @ 3:18 pm

    Why doesn’t someone dress down and try the place out? Go put on some crappy clothes and hike over there and see how they treat you. Then you’ll know for sure.

  5. Neil Boortz (unregistered) on August 11th, 2005 @ 8:02 pm


    I think you’re lost. My website is www dot boortz dot com.

  6. Joe (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 11:50 am

    Great! Now Neil Boortz has taken on the act of comment spamming!

  7. Andisheh Nouraee (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 11:55 am

    And he misspelled his own name. I told you he gets his facts wrong.

  8. mae (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 1:39 pm

    the letter reminds me of the desperate crazy letters that idiot people write…”it is with sadness and disappointment”….why all the dramatics? was it functional? yes/no. you have to ask yourself – why is this guy so completely over the top about an email sent to metroblogs?????

    “Thank you for taking the time to hear my opinion. I sincerely hope that you will use your influence to help ensure that this center is run correctly. Every individual that is able to escape homelessness and become a contributing member of society will help make Atlanta a better place to live.”

    WHO IS THIS GUY???? Maybe if he was normal, he could just go to the employees of the center and discuss his observations for improvement.

    instead, he resorts to getting online to find an outlet for his pent up fustrations about everything wrong with a new, free, center to help people like him. Maybe, if he cared so much about making Atlanta a better place to live he could concentrate on improving himself and not blame it on other centers that don’t do it for him. VM!

    he blah blah blahs all over the place and its so whiny!!!! its obv. this person can read and write and get on a computer, so why would this person be homeless? VM!

    its a new center that, AT ITS WORST, doesn’t solve the homeless problem…it doesn’t contribute and i’m sorry if, as a homeless person with no job, you have trouble scheduling times in your day between centers and amenities designed to help you. unfortunately, the nice people who volunteer and work at the centers have families that they would like to spend time with and/or other personal needs in their lives.

    the center is brand new, so maybe he could give it a break and hold comments until maybe its been open for like a month?????

    disclosure: i do not work at this center nor do i know a single person who does

  9. Big 'un (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 2:48 pm

    I’m with Mae. She seems to be the only smart person who has posted on this blog. Why don’t all you other bed-wetters learn a little something from her?

  10. Andisheh Nouraee (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 2:59 pm

    Hey Mae/ Big ‘Un — I’m happy that you’re commenting about the post, but please refrain from praising your own comments using a different name. It’s deceitful and pathetic. And because this web site logs the IP addresses of the people commenting, it’s also easy to spot.

  11. mae (unregistered) on August 12th, 2005 @ 5:01 pm

    you are ridick!

    big’un works with me and directed him to review this letter

    ip witch hunt!!!!!!

  12. Amber (unregistered) on August 16th, 2005 @ 1:53 pm

    Seriously folks… just because an IP address is the same, doesn’t mean it’s the same person or even the same computer. You should know this…

  13. Boxcar Joe (unregistered) on November 12th, 2005 @ 10:59 am

    I is homless. help me.

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