NC's homeless problem

NC families need rent and utility assistance, right now

And the General Assembly is holding onto Billions that could help with that:

“We’re looking at potentially 300,000 evictions come January,” said Rick Glazier, executive director of the Justice Center. “There are probably another 800,000 other total folks who are in utility arrearages in this state. Those kind of numbers, which is why we’re having this discussion today, would overwhelm the courts and social service agencies in this state.” To prevent such a situation, people need the time to work out arrangements for how and whether they can pay their rent, Glazier said.

I don't want to undercut what Rick is saying, but kicking that can down the road with some sort of "payment plan" is just not enough. I'm in a radical mood, so here's a radical idea: The state should use that $4 Billion surplus to buy up people's rent debt. Private debt collectors do this all the time, pay 50c on the dollar and take over the debt. Of course they are bastards and torment families to get their money back, but that initial debt purchase is what I'm talking about. If a family is $5,000 behind in rent, the state pays the landlord $2,500 and cleans the slate, letting that family start over. The state could put a lien on that family's tax returns to recoup some of that $2,500, and maybe give a tax break to the landlord for cooperating. Richard Moore has a similar idea, but it would cost a lot more than mine:

Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation feeding the homeless

Seeking solutions to difficult problems:

The Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation is working with the Raleigh-Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness and local group, Clark’s Promise, to host the Fresh Food Challenge. The initiative is seeking ideas from community groups and individuals on how to get fruits and vegetables to the homeless and others who can’t afford it. The winner will receive $25,000 to work the plan.

“This is the best example of work I know Jamie would have done,” Nation Hahn, co-founder and board president of the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation, said of the Fresh Food Challenge.

I've been following their work to develop urban vegetable gardens, something that can transform the lives (and neighborhoods) of inner-city folks. But this project has the potential to get a lot of healthy foods into the hands that really need it. Needless to say, it's a worthy cause that could use your support.

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