Omni, not everything to all

A half-filled bag of toiletries for men in a homeless shelter sits on the floor under my kitchen sink, as I rustle through my other carryall bag for a plastic bag with travel toothbrush and toothpaste, before I run out the door to a sneak peek of the Omni Hotel on Liberty and Second streets. Judging by the level of anticipation, the Omni might be the second coming or merely the latest Louisville novelty. Regardless, it is this path downtown that first opened my eyes years ago to the plight of those living on the streets here, some 150 per night according to one recent statistic.

The opening of the Omni Hotel in a neighborhood otherwise bereft of glitz, glamour and groceries is the most recent illustration of the city’s exercise of selective compassion. We may welcome all privately, but roll out the compassion carpet publicly only if it serves our economic interests.

Omni — meet a neighborhood that can use the dollars you generate, but at whose expense remains to be seen.

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