Aaron Reddin, who works with homeless through The Van, has responded to the article about the police crackdown on the homeless that I discussed earlier today.

His statement:


The Van remains committed to serving the 550 +\- unsheltered individuals in the Little Rock area. We have faced police harassment and witnessed it first hand, as recently as last Wednesday, when people were yelled at by LRPD and forced to get up and move from a perch in an alleyway where they were sitting to eat the food we had just shared with them.

The proven ordered harassment of our friends and partners at From His Throne Ministry should go to show everyone that Little Rock city hall pushes a punitive culture towards the most vulnerable among us, and even their helpers.

We will not stop. We will not hide in the shadows. Those at the top can choose to uproot this culture in the city government, or they can remain tolerant of it. Either way, they’ve known for a long time and they are all culpable, in my opinion. Make options available for all of these people, or stop using the tax dollars that they also pay, to try to run them off. We’re not expecting the city to fix everything. We’re expecting the city to stop kicking its own residents while they’re down, regardless of how they got there and no matter how long it takes to help them up.

Worth remembering. The city’s resistance to homeless use of a parking lot near Riverfront Park helped encourage the alternative ministry at the W. Markham St. church. The heavy-handed enforcement begun last week — also targeting the long-running Stewpot lunch ministry at First Presbyterian Church at Seventh and Scott —  has dealt a harsh blow to a volunteer effort to establish an alternative feeding effort in a tent outside the city’s day facility for homeless at a remote spot on Springer Boulevard.

A fine mess is what it is.