This line borrowed from an old episode of “The Office” describes very nicely the feeling among the non-profits and homeless advocates in Lubbock today. In a shocking, unbelievable development, the City Council voted 6-0 yesterday to accept Tent City’s appeal of the planning and zoning commission decision. Tent City is safe. The residents will not be put out on the streets. As I noted here last week, yesterday’s City Council meeting was the moment when the fate of Tent City was to be decided…or so we thought. It was clear as the meeting went on that there had been considerable conversation between city council members and Link ministries to formulate a compromise. No doubt the newly established Lubbock Church Coalition for the Homeless, the online petition that garnered a couple thousand signatures, and the letter and email campaigns sent a powerful message to formerly antagonistic council members.
In my brief six years in Lubbock, I’ve witnessed on more than one occasion when an effort to establish anything lasting for the homeless community was thwarted by the local government. Denied attempts to rezone other areas and new ordinances directed at “securing” the library were interpreted as merely veiled efforts to force out or scatter the homeless population.
Yesterday, that all changed. The Tent City will remain and now, with the help of local churches and kindhearted supporters, the task of renovating and upgrading the surrounding buildings in order to form a genuine homeless shelter in the city of Lubbock begins in earnest. Lord be praised, it really is nice to win one for a change.