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Meet Ofc. Rich Linkiewicz, contd

September 27, 2010

Having read a couple of comments related to my earlier post regarding the opinions of the St. Petersburg PD’s homeless outreach officer, Rich Linkiewicz, I realize that I was not clear enough in representing what he told me.

Ofc. Linkiewicz was not predicting there would be violence toward our parishioners by the homeless folks sleeping on our stoop. He was predicting violence between homeless folks attempting to sleep on our stoop. The issue is that when you have inherently stressed and over-tired folks (some of whom have been drinking or using drugs) trying to share an awfully small scrap of space under an over-hang, the experience of the police (and, in my opinion, common-sense) dictates that violence between them will occur.

I don’t think that point of view is based overly on fear. And I also think that if we are to truly minister to the homeless we should be just as concerned about making sure they are not drawn into a potentially violent situation as we are of offering them a place to sleep out of the rain.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Michael Adams permalink
    September 28, 2010 11:38 am

    I’m not in the vicinity of the church on a nightly basis, so my question is, are the homeless gathering under the roof every night, or just when it rains (which isn’t very often)? I know they are on the sidewalk close to the street on any given night. I wonder if hiring a night “security guard” whose presence alone would be some deterrent to possible violent situations and if we could afford that expense? Just thinking how we can ensure the safety of all concerned without being exclusive.

  2. Martha Goodwill permalink*
    September 28, 2010 2:02 pm

    The homeless do gather on our porch and ramp every night, beginning at about 5:00. There are just more when it rains. At this time, we are not in the financial position to hire any additional staff.

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