Who is behind the “movethemission” website?

We are your neighbors and your co-workers. We are teachers, office workers and shop keepers who love our downtown area. We are Christians and people who care about people who have fallen on hard times and just need a hand up to return to becoming contributing members of society. We are also people who have seen the toxic effects of the rescue mission on our downtown community. We hear it from our customers, we see it in lowered daily sales receipts and we see it in our declining property values. We want our downtown to become an incredible place for our neighbors to live, work, shop and visit. We want  to restore our downtown into something that we can feel proud of leaving as our legacy to the next generation of Panama City citizens.

Well the rescue mission is helping needy people. Isn”t it the right thing to do to help people in need?

Absolutely! It is should be part of who we are as Christians and citizens of our town to reach out to those who need a hand up. Those of us in the downtown community who are most vocally  protesting the affects of the rescue mission have been the first ones to give to help others. We have bought meals, provided transportation and offered handy man jobs to those who took our offerings to better their situation. We encourage everyone to offer donations of time and money to organizations that best serve the needs of people in need while respecting the community from which they ask donations.

So if your group SUPPORTS helping those in need, what is your “beef” with the rescue mission?

This is where the trains falls off the tracks. The rescue mission has actually been “too successful” in their mission. As a city commissioner recently said of the director of the mission, “You are quite good at marketing”. The rescue mission has such large volumes of people they serve, they have impacted the downtown community in a negative way. There are inflated numbers of crime within a close radius of the mission. There are declined property values in neighborhoods surrounding the mission. The existence of the rescue has affected the small businesses in the downtown area by driving away retail customers. The reality is that the rescue mission is BIG BUSINESS with multimillion dollar revenues! Now, we personally are offended that a group has chosen to make a money making  business on the backs of homeless and vagrants but that alone is no more offensive than someone opening a honky tonk or a strip club for profit. Where it becomes a problem is when that business, facility or organization creates a negative impact on the surrounding businesses and neighbors. One does not have the right to hurt the surrounding community by their actions. This is considered a public nuisance. The toxic affects both directly and indirectly of the rescue mission are well documents by the Sheriffs department, Panama City police department, Mayors office and many can be read about here on our website. Then to add insult to injury, the rescue mission has thumbed their nose at their neighbors when concerns were voiced. The rescue mission has been a poor community neighbor at best and has only recently shown any type of cooperation when they finally felt some pressure from our city commissioners who have heard  constant complaints from their constituents. Although the rescue mission is not the ONLY problem that needs to be addressed to turn downtown around, it is the KEY problem by which all other revolve around. Rundown building? They need investment to restore them. Who is going to invest in building, inventory and personnel in a community that is drowning with a vagrant problem? The answer is nobody. 

I still want to help the homeless, how do I do it in a way that helps those in need without hurting our community? 

First of all be an informed citizen. Attend city commissioner meetings, read our blog and talk to owners of downtown businesses about what is really happening downtown. Next we encourage our readers to do your research before sending your hard earned donation dollars to an organization. How is that money being spent? What kind of results are they getting with the people they help? Are the “homeless” being served being moved to situations where they are contributing members of society or is the organization just creating rolls of the homeless who never leave the system? Does the organizations activities create additional hardship for neighboring businesses or residence? “Movethemission” is currently researching a number of organizations that provide services to the homeless and hope to provide a “report card” very soon in a future posting.

What can I do to help the “movethemisson” website get information out on the downtown area?

In just the twenty days we have been up we have had an explosive growth in our reader volume. We are committed to presenting information on the vagrancy issue and the rescue mission that you are not seeing in local media channels. Share our website link with your friends. Send it today to three people you know that care about downtown and want to see it become a great place again. Send us your stories. If you have had a personal experience that you would like to share, please drop us a line at movethemission@yahoo.com. Contact your Mayor and city commissioners. They are eager to hear your concerns and are committed to find solutions that allow downtown to blossom while still providing services to those truly in need. Lastly, support your downtown merchants. Many of these small business persons are struggling to survive in what is already a tough economy compounded by the affects of the transient and vagrant problem. These are your friends and neighbors that need you to patronize their businesses. 

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: