Why the rescue mission management will never be part of the solution

This is a screenshot from the Rescue Mission of Panama City’s website and a clear indicator of the  mindset for those unfamiliar with how the rescue mission sees themselves. Notice the comments in yellow? “Find solutions to the PERCEIVED problems of vagrants downtown”. How can the community that is interested in providing services to those locals in need but do it in a way that does not destroy downtown, have any kind of meaningful discussion if the rescue is unwilling to even acknowledge the impact they have on downtown? There is no PERCEIVED problem of vagrancy, there IS a problem with vagrancy.  The Panama City police report shows there IS a problem and the Bay County Sheriff’s report shows there IS a problem. The volumes of police reports from activities at 609 Allen street, home of the rescue mission, shows that the RESCUE MISSION is ground zero for a vagrancy problem. The calls that downtown citizens and business people have made to our Mayor and City Commissioners confirm that there IS a vagrancy problem. So how can one create meaningful dialogue with another party when they refuse to acknowledge a problem, are slow to participate in meetings and governmental forums and lastly declare an unrealistic value for their property making any type of buy–out impractical? In certain parts of the country what the rescue mission is doing would be called extortion. Then just to make it all better, they throw a couple biblical scriptures in to daze you and me. Reality is that the rescue mission will not change their thinking until we as a community demand better from them. Our community leaders have finally taken a proactive position to hold the rescue mission accountable even in the face of much backlash by a few naive individuals in our community that can only see the word “Christian” and “homeless” in the discussion. They are unable to see the situation in its entirety and form opinions and solutions based off of reason.

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