In your Aug. 7 editorial, thank you for applauding the Hand in Hand ladies for withdrawing their well-intended but misguided effort to convert the old Brunswick Hospital to a homeless shelter. In doing so, you recognize that Brunswick’s National Historic District is worth preserving and enhancing not only for the benefit of those who choose to restore and live in handsome historic homes but also as a major economic asset for our community.
Although our historic district has been making great strides in recent years, it has been a catch-all for converting “underused” housing stock for almost a dozen shelters for homeless daycare and sleeping facilities, abused women, abused and neglected children, alcohol and drug rehab and meals for the hungry scattered throughout the historic district.
The residents try to adapt to these shelters but are reaching a saturation point that strains our ability to lead normal lives. The old hospital is a mile from the river, which would draw homeless traffic through our neighborhoods far greater than before, something that would not be tolerated on St. Simons.
It is unfortunate that residents of this area were portrayed as insensitive and lacking compassion when the fact is the residents are the most compassionate because we live with it 24 hours a day. We encourage Hand in Hand to continue to pursue meeting the needs of the homeless but in a more transparent manner so serious mistakes can be avoided.