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The following are a series of quotes from this paper's illustrious comments section about Homelessness.
"Build it and they will come, feed them and they will stay.. Pretty simple. Send most of Burt Nash (sic) somewhere else, along with the other agencies that exhist to give our tax dollars to many who choose not to work and the problem starts to correct itself."
"I am all for helping the homeless, not enabling them. I work at a facility where we care for a large homeless population. Much more often than not, they are chronic drunks, who however, manage to be able to afford cigarretes, more alcohol, but never seem to be able to afford food. Homeless are the refugees in Darfur...most of the homeless I am use to seeing are "enabled"."
"No effort = No money"
Ban the bums and be done with this issue. Downtown is for conducting business. Panhandlers are for disrupting business. Ban them, throw them in jail but get rid of them one way or the other.
...you act as if having a drug or alcohol problem happened to those people by accident. It didn't. Take accountability. Third, not one homeless person has lost access to health care. They can go to any ED and be treated without having to pay a dime. And last, not all of us are "just a few weeks....away from homelessness." Some of us plan for that possibility by saving, not running up debt (or using any), and spending within our means. Life is hard and not fair. Get over it."
I could go on, but I feel like it would be excessive. According to Nationalhomeless.org, between 20 and 25% of homeless people are veterans. http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/veterans.pdf Do we hate veterans? Do you want to look someone in the eye who has just spent six years in Iraq or Afghanistan, seeing horrible things, that they are just lazy and need to stop asking for handouts?
Many homeless are experiencing mental illness. And yet, we, as a society, have an intense hatred for the homeless. Why? I'm curious as to what people think the reason is for such vitriol. In the quotes above, we see the idea that the homeless are like stray animals. We see that assisting the homeless is "enabling them," that they might buy cigarettes and alcohol (how might they have gotten addicted to those substances in the first place)?
We see such "solutions" as banning homeless people. We see this notion that apparently, everyone was born 18 years old with a job in hand and can avoid debt.
The problem with these assertions is that they are generally false. They are also almost exclusively based on anecdotal evidence... "I see a drunk homeless person..." "I knew someone who panhandled..." etc. There is no recognition that these are people - possibly veterans - who haven't had the same advantages as any of us have had. I've worked since I was 14 years old. I've been fortunate enough to have the foundation for success that comes from a stable (or stable enough) home and a quality education. What hope do you think a teenager in a terrible home situation has of getting a quality education, getting a job, etc? Where do you think substance abuse comes from?
Does anyone think about these things beyond the initial unpleasant awkwardness of having to look into a homeless person's eyes and tell them you just don't have any money for them?
So, for all the people who think we should "pull the plug" on them - where do they go? Do they find a hole somewhere to die? What do you want them to do? What is your SOLUTION? Are you willing to let them use your shower, to claim your address so they can even apply for a job? Of course not. Effort goes so far, but effort alone can't get you off the street, now can it? If you're a hiring manager, are you going to hire someone who hasn't had access to a shower for a week and only has a few sets of dirty, tattered old clothes?
Conservatives - it costs roughly $26,000 to put someone in jail for an entire year. That's $26,000 of taxpayer money. Do you think that a homeless shelter costs as much as that per person?
Liberals - Do you actually spend any time or contribute in any way to helping the homeless? It doesn't have to be a massive government problem if more private citizens would give their time and efforts of their own will.
And to everyone - political or not - Let's be reasonable. Is it better to bus the homeless away, to refuse them, to tell them to get a job and suck it up - or is it better to help them, but help them the right way - get them to a point where they can contribute to society again?