Why Some Memphis Homeless Shelters Charge Money
(Memphis) Craig Parker said he hasn’t been homeless for years but his heart is still there with the people, “I want people to know how the homeless people in this city are ignored.”
He says one thing needs to change for sure, how homeless shelters in Memphis charge people to spend the night, “If you aren’t working and have no money, how can you pay to get in?”
One of several places that charges a fee, is the Union Mission on Poplar.
“I have people call me up and say ‘I can`t believe you charge those people!’,” said Director of Development Steve Carpenter.
Carpenter says the mission allows people to stay four nights a month for free, after that there is a $6 a night fee.
He said it’s not a way for the mission to make money, it’s more about helping the homeless be accountable for their lives, “There is a fine line that you have to walk between serving people and enabling them.”
Carpenter told us one way a homeless person doesn’t have to pay for a bed at night, is to enroll in one of its long-term programs,“So there is no charge for those programs and those folks are with us for a very extended period of time.”
Right now, he says, those programs are full.
Parker told us that leaves many on the streets with few options/
“Where are they going to go?” he asked. ”They end up on the corner of Cleveland and Poplar asking somebody who walks by for a dollar, which is a crime in this city.”