August 23, 2011; Source: Winston-Salem Journal | The Winston-Salem Journal reports on the Homeless Caucus, a group of homeless and formerly homeless people who want to serve on the Homeless Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. We know nothing about the Council’s history except that it has been making decisions about services to homeless people in that North Carolina region for years. The caucus also intends to ask the mayor for seats on any municipal committees addressing the issue.
The Caucus is associated with a faith-based community-organizing group called CHANGE, or Communities Helping All Neighbors Gain Empowerment.
Again, NPQ knows nothing about this particular situation but in general we feel strongly that the people whose lives will be affected by a program should be involved in core decision making about that program wherever possible. Organizing among homeless people to represent their own interests has been going on for more than two decades. Groups, councils and boards that lack such representation risk eventual opposition from some of those they are purporting to represent, and of proceeding with less-than-full information about the environment in which they operate.—Ruth McCambridge