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Questioning the Candidates Part 5: Addressing the Homeless

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Updated: Wed, 11 Sep 2013 12:08:32 EST

The Macon-Bibb County Consolidated Election is almost here, WGXA sat down with all seven candidates running for mayor and asked them the same series of questions.

In this segment, the candidates appear in alphabetical order with the exception of the write in candidate, who appears last.

Tonight's question is: How would you address the homeless problem in Macon and Bibb County?

"A lot of people want to be homeless. You know you're gonna say what? Yeah, back some years ago we had worked with the Macon Rescue Mission and we went on a cold night through my Kids Yule Love program and they said leave us alone, we don't want to go to the rescue mission we want to be left alone.." -Joe Allen

"And then there's those crippled people who want to be homeless. Not everybody wants to go home. There's a guy downtown that I knew for years that's got a home in Lizella but he's downtown because, probably because he's got a mental problem. Its a big problem and I think its one that we're going ot have to work on together but as long as you've got social service centers here and Macon is a social services mecca, then I think you're going to have a problem with homeless people." -Charlie Bishop

"And to me, most of them want something to do but they can't find a job or anything to do. And when they do find a job they make too much money and they get cut off from their welfare and foodstamps and everything else. So we have to find a balance of what their incomes are. Someone has to sit down with these people and find out where they live, how they live, and get them into housing instead of being on the streets." -David Cousino

"But a lot of it are people with mental health problems. A lot of recent returnees from our prison system. And we have to do a better job of receiving those people back in the community. Those who are in need of mental health we have to get them in mental health facilities. Those who are in need of jobs and housing we need to do a better job of putting a support system together." -C. Jack Ellis

"Well thats another one where Iwe've got to continue to work with other resources the churches and other things and as you know a lot of this happened because veterans are a lot of those people. People who have given a tremendous amount of service to our country so we don't need to abandon them and just push them aside we need to find other kinds of ways to work." -Sam Hart

"We need to have programs for senior citizens. We do have some but they need to be improved. We need to have adequate facilities so that people can recreate and enjoy the outdoors and one another's company without loitering downtown." -Robert Reichert

"Well you're never going to get rid of the homless but I think programs such as daybreak are a good thing. And as I said before if I become mayor I'll give 2/3 of my salary back to the city." -Anthony Harris

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