by Sam Hieb
Greensboro alt-weekly Rhino Times reports on City Council member Sharon Hightower’s plan to provide free coffee for the homeless:
Greensboro should run a tab for homeless people to pay for their coffee in restaurants so they can sit inside and stay warm, according to City Councilmember Sharon Hightower.
She was speaking at the Greensboro City Council Community Services Committee meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 12. It’s a crazy idea, but this City Council has done some crazy things. You have to wonder how the owners of the Undercurrent, Cafe Europa, Table 16, Natty Greene’s, 1618 Downtown and other downtown eating establishments would feel about having half their tables filled with homeless people drinking their paid-for-by-the-taxpayer coffee during lunch and keeping people who want to buy lunch standing outside in the cold.
The fact that such a program would put just about every restaurant doing business downtown out of business does not seem to be a concern for Hightower. She sees it as a cheap way to give the homeless somewhere to go during the day.
It’s worth noting that Gboro’s homeless advocates pointed out that there are other resources the homeless can utilize to stay out of the cold during the day, including the city’s downtown Interactive Resource Center. But—as Rhino editor John Hammer notes—Hightower “doesn’t give up easily, and she only needs four other councilmembers to vote with her to get her program started.” And while this plan might sound crazy, Gboro’s council “has done some crazy things.” Hammer’s right on both counts.