Michael Stoops is the director of community organizing for the National Coalition for the Homeless. In November 2004 the National Coalition selected Little Rock as the "meanest city" in the country for its treatment of homeless people. The city had just completed the closure of twenty-seven homeless camps in advance of the Clinton Library dedication. "This issue has been percolating here for some time," said Stoops in commenting on the title. "This is the first time that Little Rock has been documented in our report."
The National Coalition report suggested that the opening of the Library figured prominently in the decision to sweep the transient population from the streets of Little Rock. "We want to help stop homeless sweeps in cities when there are big events," said Stoops. City manager Bruce Moore disagreed with this conclusion, "The Clinton library just has never been a factor in any of our decisions or dialogue." Said Little Rock Mayor Jim Dailey, "I think they’ve ignored the facts and the things we have worked on in the last several years, the money we’ve put into the homeless."
Cities that followed Little Rock in the meanest city designation were Atlanta, Cincinnati, Las Vegas, Gainesville (Florida), New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, and Austin. In 2004 about 2,000 people were housed in homeless shelters in Little Rock, with about 200-300 others living on the streets.
- Andrew DeMillo and Jill Zeman, "LR Dubbed 'Meanest' for Homeless by Advocacy Group," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, November 9, 2004.