Thur update: Wonderful opportunity to help the homeless, Facebook kills Places, Hurricane Irene, stuff to do Downtown tonight

For years I’ve discouraged my readers from giving money to those who ask for it on Downtown streets. Most of the time, the people asking for it aren’t actually homeless, and your money will just enable a drug or alcohol problem. So, people have asked me, “I agree about not giving money, but what can I do that will truly help the homeless?” An opportunity to help is coming up next month.

The Community Alliance for the Homeless will host a huge, one-day event at the Cook Convention Center Downtown. Project Homeless Connect, to be held Friday, September 16, will target unsheltered homeless individuals in Memphis, and will attempt to provide all the resources and services they need to leave homelessness, all under one roof. Everything from medical/dental, to housing counseling, to employment opportunities, to Social Security and VA benefits and more will be provided. There will also be food, haircuts, and the opportunity to get ID and legal assistance.

An event this huge is going to need a lot of volunteers. There are tons of opportunities, so you can pick what appeals to you the most – street outreach, serving food, collecting data, pairing up one-on-one with a homeless individual. You can sign up here.

In other news: Foursquare has slain the 800-pound gorilla in the mobile checkin battle. Facebook announced yesterday that they are abandoning Places, their mobile checkin service. More and more businesses are getting on Foursquare and offering specials: In the last 24 hours, two of my favorite Downtown businesses, Shelton Clothiers and LUNCHBOXeats, have joined the party.

Facebook, besides abandoning Places, announced improved privacy settings in a blog post this week. Good for them. I think they’re seeing what Google+ has been doing really well and are learning from it. Now I wish FB would get around to improving its horribly slow and buggy iPhone app.

If you want to keep up with the path of Hurricane Irene, Intellicast does a good job. Wow this thing looks scary. Looks like New York City could take a direct hit. I hope my friends who live in the area stay safe.

Among things to do Downtown tonight, the biggest event will be Allison Krauss and Union Station. They play the Orpheum tonight at 8.

Over at the Madison Hotel, their weekly Sunset atop the Madison rooftop party features Elmo & the Shades. Doors open at 5:30, music at 6. It’s the second to last Madison rooftop party of the season.

Outta here… time to get gas and defend my Zaxby’s mayorship.