Moving Homeless Into Sports Stadiums Is Just the Beginning

Florida Marlins StadiumWhen you think sports stadium, you're probably thinking home as in home run or home plate. And we may soon add another "home" to that list. Homeless. As in people. A Florida legislator has proposed using its stadiums as homeless shelters when the home team is out of town.

I think that's the most I've ever used the word home in one paragraph. I also think Republican State Senator Michael Bennett might be onto something.


We've got these sport stadiums, put up with the help of tax dollars. Just. Sitting. There.

If you've ever visited a sports stadium during the off-season, they're kind of . . . lifeless. Like that house up the street that's had a for sale sign out front since the owners moved to Florida to escape the snow, they feel like a giant waste of empty space. And by giant, I mean GIANT. Penn State's Beaver Stadium can fit nearly 107,000 fans in the seats alone. That's on the larger end for stadiums, but the Yankees can pack in more than 50,000 for a game. And that doesn't account for the space on the fields themselves.

So, all that space, empty, does what, exactly for the rest of us? Maybe I'm a bad sports fan, but I'd like to see a little return on my money. Putting something in there can only help communities ensure their favorite team stays there.

Sadly, I don't think allowing the homeless to set up camp is the way to go. We all know the growth of the homeless population in America represents a growing challenge in America. Shelters turn people away all the time because they're overextended. But if they can only use this place on off-nights, what the heck do they do when there's a game that has to be played? It doesn't solve the problem! Not to mention the debacle at the SuperDome during Hurricane Katrina should be good reminder that facilities not originally set up to house people should not house people.

But at least someone's thinking about stadiums beyond game day. That's the best way to look out for the fans not the rich team owners!

What would you like to see in a stadium when the season is over?


Image via Sue Elias/Flickr


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