Mentally Ill And Homeless In The South – Another Installment

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The South’s favorite debutante-turned-psychiatrist, Dr. Dorothy Fowles Kendall, has committed media yet again on behalf of the mentally ill and homeless in Columbia, SC. Whatever would her great-great-great-you-get-the-point-grandmother have to say about such “modern” ladies as Dr. Kendall!? From The State:

As a psychiatrist working with Columbia’s homeless, I’m thrilled about plans for an integrated homeless services center. I’m also disappointed by the “Not in My Backyard” reaction of some downtown residents and politicians. As a 46-year resident of downtown Columbia, I might add that it’s my backyard, too.

Myth: We do-gooders are unrealistic. It will be a money pit.

Reality: Homeless visits to local hospitals cost taxpayers $23 million per year. Psychiatric illness, followed by live birth, is the top reason for inpatient admission. Improving access to non-emergency services will save money.

It’s great that our community is coming together to fix this problem rather than just continuing to shuffle people around all day — by design — as was done in George Orwell’s England. There has been an extraordinary amount of planning for this project, including visits to other cities to figure out what works and what doesn’t. We can dramatically reduce homelessness by making the roads into it narrower and the paths out of it wider. The center will not enable chronic dysfunction, but instead will provide escalators up and out of it.

Full op/ed here.

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