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Homelessness is uncalled for

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,069
Points
34
Michele Zone said:
Then there' s always Leper colonies.

I'll play the Devil's advocate. I might as well get on his good side.

Were leper colonies that bad an idea? Remember that at the time they were in place, there was no treatment for leprosy. Rather than risk widespread infection that could cripple or kill countless millions, governments of the time chose to quarantine people. Which is of greater importance, the relative freedom of an individual or the health of a population? Even today, the accepted practice with a new or untreatable disease is first to isolate the patient. This isn't just in the third world, but in nearly civilized countries like Canada (Toronto, SARS).

Back to the homeless. What to do about the unsalvagable ones? They do impact the quality of life and the economic climate of the places they inhabit and the people who live, work, or visit there. Exporting them to The Town Next Door may solve the problem for one place, but just creates a problem fo rthe next. Is an island a bad place for them?
 

oryzias

Member
Messages
2
Points
0
So much arrogance, so little time

Holy sh**t, I can't believe I'm reading this stuff... Are you people in favor of Eugenics, as well?
Having been homeless, I guess I'm taking what I can only interpret as your disgust and hatred pretty personally.

I did not choose to be homeless, and was actually attending college at the time. I couldn't get a job to save my life (maybe some of you remember the lovely recession of the early 80's, or were you enjoying the fruits of Reagonomics? I never begged or stole, or soiled any of your precious sidewalks. I didn't use drugs, or drink. What I did do was live in the back of my toppered pickup truck for nearly a year, attending classes by day. I hung out in the library most evenings. The rest of my time was occupied by trying to stay warm, and not being raped or killed. I washed up in the Greyhound Bus Station bathroom. I dumpster-dove for food. (I still can't stand the smell of bakery goods or deli meat, which I sometimes ate for days on end, some of it rancid.) I scoured beneath bleacher seats for change, and bought french onion soup for 99 cents whenever I could afford it.
It was a fairly hellish existance, and I am now SO GLAD I went through that. I wake up every damn day so thankful for my life. No one on this forum is better than any other person by default, and you may want to think twice before you judge those who you have so little knowledge of. Who knows? It could happen to you.
 
Messages
7,628
Points
29
Re: So much arrogance, so little time

oryzias said:
Holy sh**t, I can't believe I'm reading this stuff... Are you people in favor of Eugenics, as well?
Having been homeless, I guess I'm taking what I can only interpret as your disgust and hatred pretty personally.

I did not choose to be homeless, and was actually attending college at the time.

It could happen to you.

Yeah, that is why I felt compelled to register 'early' (before I am fully transitioned to DSL and a new e-mail address) and give the link to the class I took: It is apparent to me that most of the comments so far are based on ignorance, fear, and stereotypes.

I knew I would be 'fighting an uphill battle', since I am new and, thus, 'nobody' and, also, because the class can be taken for free (you just don't get the academic credit if you take it for free). It is a psychological truism that most people equate 'free' with 'worthless' and will pass over valuable opportunities because they used this fallacious rubric as a basis for their decision.

For those wise souls who know better than that, let me point out that this class is unique – there isn’t another one like it – and, it is probably *the* single best resource on the topic of homelessness presently in existence. It is listed as both URBS 582 and HED 582, for both urban studies and health education, at San Francisco State University. San Francisco has about the same number of homeless people as New York City, but only about one tenth the overall population. It is, therefore, a hotbed of both controversy and innovation in this area.
 
Messages
7,628
Points
29
Michael Stumpf said:
I'll play the Devil's advocate. I might as well get on his good side.

Were leper colonies that bad an idea? Remember that at the time they were in place, there was no treatment for leprosy. Rather than risk widespread infection that could cripple or kill countless millions, governments of the time chose to quarantine people. Which is of greater importance, the relative freedom of an individual or the health of a population? Even today, the accepted practice with a new or untreatable disease is first to isolate the patient. This isn't just in the third world, but in nearly civilized countries like Canada (Toronto, SARS).

Back to the homeless. What to do about the unsalvagable ones? They do impact the quality of life and the economic climate of the places they inhabit and the people who live, work, or visit there. Exporting them to The Town Next Door may solve the problem for one place, but just creates a problem fo rthe next. Is an island a bad place for them?

Well, first of all, leprosy is not a very contagious disease. Lepers were isolated due to stereotypes, ignorance, and fear, NOT because it really served a big purpose medically. It might have made more sense to have, say, "Syphilis Colonies". Leprosy is extremely disfiguring and, therefore, a source of social horror. But it really did not merit, on a medical basis, the 'treatment' it received.

(BTW, I have Canadian friends who think America is pretty barbaric. I hope you are just joking about Canada being 'nearly civilized'.)

There are many much more effective ways to deal with causes of homelessness. (I prefer to NOT use the phrase 'The Homeless', since I find it to be as spurious as 'The Poor', 'The N*ggers', 'The Spics', and similar. It is a means to distance oneself from the condition and to dehumanize people, which is a first step towards Hitler's 'Final Solution' type thinking.)

For many homeless individuals (and families), 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure'. Two people can have the exact same *problems* but very different *resources* with which to meet them. One of them ends up homeless, while the other ends up sleeping at a friends house or living with mom and dad a while longer or otherwise getting the appropriate care and accommodation they need. The first starts on a downward spiral that is very difficult to halt. The second lands in their social 'safety net', picks themselves back up, brushes themselves off, and tries again.

I, personally, do not wish to set up a bunch of programs to serve 'The Homeless.' (We do need a few, but it is far more effective and a whole lot cheaper to prevent homelessness than to 'cure' it after the fact). For one thing, when you require an individual to label themselves in a stigmatizing fashion in order to receive aid, you begin to impress upon them that this IS their identity, this IS who and what they are. That, alone, can be the 'point of no return', where they can no longer see themselves as a human being who happens to be experiencing a difficult condition (homelessness) and begin to see themselves as this second-rate excuse of a human being, nameless, faceless, part of The Homeless (like The N*ggers, The Spics, etc). It no longer is merely one characteristic of many that make up the fabric of this human being and their life. Instead, it is their identity. Then, it gets really hard to reach them and help them to hope again, help them to dream again, help them to respect themselves again, help them to try again.

Welfare is an excellent example of how focusing on a problem can magnify the problem rather than resolve it. Welfare was supposed to help 'poor, single moms'. It was dreamed up at a time when most poor, single moms were widows ('the deserving poor') and having a child out of wedlock was so stigmatizing that few women did it ('the undeserving poor'). But, creating welfare changed the rules and actually increased the number of poor, single moms. (Which has its good points, but that is not relevant to this discussion.)

So, when you design programs to 'help the homeless', you define people as incompetent and in need of 'charity' (do not forget that the expression 'charity case' is extremely insulting -- we do not give 'charity' out of generosity, we give it out of loathing and disdain) while simultaneously taking the risk that you are ‘rewarding’ people for the wrong things, thereby actively promoting homelessness as a means to get ones needs met.

So, there are no 'short answers' as to how to PREVENT as many people as possible from ending up 'unsalvageable' and then how to deal effectively and efficiently with those individuals whose problems really are unresolvable. I do enjoy ‘running my mouth’, so if you are prepared to listen at great length, I might be able to start helping you understand the complexities of human problems that often lead to homelessness.

But I really think URBS 582 is a better resource for solid information that has already been pre-packaged in an understandable manner, and broken down by ‘topic’. In contrast, *my* ideas would be interspersed with lengthy personal anecdotes about things like the many years I helped my in-laws so they could get off welfare, out of debt, and do things such as buy a house (my mother in law), marry someone other than the unemployed drunkard who fathered 3 kids on her and never gave her a dime (one sister in law), or leave the abusive husband that beat her up when she was pregnant and all of 4 feet 11 inches tall (my other sister in law). You are, of course, welcome to make use of both URBS 582 and my experience and wisdom on the topic.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,069
Points
34
Michele Zone said:
Well, first of all, leprosy is not a very contagious disease.

From the CDC:

"Although the mode of transmission of Hansen's disease remains uncertain, most investigators think that M. leprae is usually spread from person to person in respiratory droplets.
Risk Groups [include] close contacts with patients with untreated, active, predominantly multibacillary disease, and persons living in countries with highly endemic disease.

I prefer to NOT use the phrase 'The Homeless', ...

Oh give me a break! What a piece of smarmy, touchy-feely, relativistic, left-wing, white guilt piece of crap!

For many homeless individuals (and families), 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure'.
This is very true. Unfortunately, many of the homele... er "differentially-aboded" do not have well-developed informal networks (work history, personal savings, family, friends, etc.) and have not taken full advantage of the formal resources that make "a situation of less-traditional living arrangements" a less-likely condition. I mean things like our public educational system, work force development offices, etc.

I, personally, do not wish to set up a bunch of programs to serve 'The Homeless.' (We do need a few, but it is far more effective and a whole lot cheaper to prevent homelessness than to 'cure' it after the fact).

You will always have people who do not have the ability to see ahead and realize that their failure to get a public education, to work with job couselors, to utilize public health services, etc., can have a major impact on their ability to adequately provide for themselves. Preventive measures are certainly the best, but unless you force people to take them, there will always be a need for after-the-fact programs. The question I have asked is when to stop? We support public and private programs to allow people to improve themselves, and we have programs in place to help those who still end up on the street. All of this costs resources that might otherwise be applied to many other things.

So, when you design programs to 'help the homeless', you define people as incompetent and in need of 'charity' (do not forget that the expression 'charity case' is extremely insulting -- we do not give 'charity' out of generosity, we give it out of loathing and disdain) while simultaneously taking the risk that you are ‘rewarding’ people for the wrong things, thereby actively promoting homelessness as a means to get ones needs met.

This brings up many different thoughts.
1. By defining these people as 'homeless,' I am not sure I would call them incompetent. Certainly some, such as the mentally-ill, are in a context of that word. Likewise, charity has more than one meaning.
2. Yes, I give to 'charity' out of loathing. I loathe cancer. On the other hand, I don't think loathing the environment is the reson I support so many environmental causes.
3. As for 'rewarding' people for the wrong things, there is a point there. Are you suggesting that we should not offer them any help?

I might be able to start helping you understand the complexities of human problems that often lead to homelessness.
[SARCASM] Oh, please, take pity on my poor ignorance and enlighten me, oh most infinitely knowledgable one! [/SARCASM]


But I really think URBS 582 is a better resource for solid information...

Sorry, but there are many more resources on the issue than one course you took, complete with the biases that the instructor may bring to the topic. I know this, as I have taken other classes, read countless articles, essays, and reports, attended numerous presentations, and managed several different housing programs over the course of my career.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,846
Points
24
Michele Zone said:
Then there' s always Leper colonies.

I have been to one. In 2001 after the APA conference in New Orleans, my professor asked me to drive up to Carville La (yes named after James’s family) and take photos and do a short report on the colony. That was down right weird. Of course leprosy has been cured, but there a still a few elderly people waiting around there to die since they have no where else to go.

There is a museum there, check it out if you are ever in the area.
 
Messages
7,628
Points
29
Oh give me a break! What a piece of smarmy, touchy-feely, relativistic, left-wing, white guilt piece of crap!
------
Gee, that does not sound like ‘agreeing to disagree’. That sounds downright inflammatory and attacking. Which suggests to me that I may be wasting my time trying to have a discussion with you on this since your mind appears to be closed and my view has been dismissed as completely invalid.

-----
You will always have people who do not have the ability to see ahead and realize that their failure to get a public education, to work with job couselors, to utilize public health services, etc., can have a major impact on their ability to adequately provide for themselves. Preventive measures are certainly the best, but unless you force people to take them, there will always be a need for after-the-fact programs. The question I have asked is when to stop? We support public and private programs to allow people to improve themselves, and we have programs in place to help those who still end up on the street. All of this costs resources that might otherwise be applied to many other things.
------
There are a lot of programs that have been tried that are far cheaper and more effective that involve offering aid before the person is actually homeless. When genuine support is offered to help someone through a crisis, they generally accept pretty willingly. However, a lot of the type of aid that is available is done in a manner that degrades a person’s sense of humanity. When that is the only aid offered, many people will turn it down out of a sense of pride (or whatever you wish to call it). This is why the attitude you have towards the problem can matter a great deal in how effective a program is. If the program is designed with an attitude of contempt, that will usually come across loud and clear.

Additionally, here in America, folks end up homeless because, for example, they contract AIDS. Other countries put people dying of incurable diseases in a hospice, to make them comfortable until they die without spending huge amounts of money trying to ‘save’ the life of a dying man or woman.

America deals in a rather neurotic manner with a lot of these issues. We don’t like hospices. Simply accepting that someone WILL die and trying to make them comfortable is not our style. We like the heroics of trying to save someone’s life and waste enormous resources dragging out someone’s inevitable death and making it more torturous than necessary, then refuse any aid whatsoever to folks we have labeled as ‘undeserving’ for some reason.

A homeless person can call an ambulance and get taken to a hospital and receive many thousands of dollars worth of care – an amount of money that could support the individual in comfort for an entire year but he isn’t entitle to support, he is only entitled to emergency medical care. This has a lot to do with the rub between the fantasy of ‘rugged individualism’, where we want to make people pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and our high ideals and sense of heroism that makes us value intensive and dramatic rescue efforts over real solutions.

Here is one model – supportive housing --that is proven to work cost effectively for some of your most hard-core cases: http://www.csh.org/

But we don’t use it much because it requires accepting the fact that some folks never will live ‘the American dream’ – one of my favorite lines from a movie is the end of ‘The Devils’ Own’ where the guy says “This isn’t an American Story. It’s an Irish story.” And then dies. American’s sometimes do not wish to be ‘confused with the facts’ because we have made up our mind: everyone on planet earth can beat the odds, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, etc, if they, by god, will just try hard enough.


This brings up many different thoughts.
1. By defining these people as 'homeless,' I am not sure I would call them incompetent. Certainly some, such as the mentally-ill, are in a context of that word. Likewise, charity has more than one meaning.

Yes, charity has more than one meaning. But most people who receive some kind of public service (welfare, food stamps, etc) are well aware that it stigmatizes them. Many people who design these programs do so with the best of intentions – and pave a road to hell with their good intentions because they are oblivious to the insulting way in which aid is offered. I can give you some personal examples, if you really want to explore this idea. But, given your antagonist and insulting remarks (above) I really would prefer to not volunteer personal information about myself for you to blithely use as ammunition against me.


2. Yes, I give to 'charity' out of loathing. I loathe cancer. On the other hand, I don't think loathing the environment is the reson I support so many environmental causes.

Yes, you ‘support environmental causes’. That is a very different attitude from ‘charity’. You are investing in something you believe in, not ‘nicely’ giving to some thing undeserving because ‘that is the generous sort of guy you are’.

3. As for 'rewarding' people for the wrong things, there is a point there. Are you suggesting that we should not offer them any help?
---
No, I am suggesting that help needs to be offered to as many of them as possible for a reason other than ‘being homeless’. There are ways to do that. It isn’t necessarily easy to find something that addresses the problem without using this definition but the ‘reason’ for which aid is offered is important.

-----
Sorry, but there are many more resources on the issue than one course you took, complete with the biases that the instructor may bring to the topic. I know this, as I have taken other classes, read countless articles, essays, and reports, attended numerous presentations, and managed several different housing programs over the course of my career.
-----
Nice edit job. Allowed you to give any meaning you wanted to infer to my lead in comment, which was then taken out of context.

I really don’t want to fight or argue with you. I don’t like doing that. So if you attack me again and dismiss me as some twit, yadda yadda, I don’t think I will bother to respond. Feel free to believe that you are oh so superior to me and I am undeserving of any respect whatsoever rather than cutting me some slack as the newbie still trying to feel my way around and learn how this forum operates. Then I can feel like you have handily proven what a jerk you are and, clearly, this is why you cannot figure out a means to address a problem that requires a smidgeon of compassion. We can start the downward spiral and completely fail to benefit from interacting. Not what I came here for but I can’t control your choices.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
a friend of mine lives in an SRO, it's called Leavenhouse and it's part of the North Camden Land Trust.

http://www.nclandtrust.org/ - if you're interested.

he lives there by choice, he helps run the soup kitchen and helps keep the place together physically.

Leavenhouse was built because people in the community looked around and saw that most of the people on the street are men and most of them are black men.

They realized there were no facilities in Camden that were specifically for men (other than the typical warehouse type shelter) but plenty of places existed for women, specifically for women with children.

i was talking with my friend about why it's mostly men on the street and of course we got to talking about the ridiculous expectations placed on men - this B.S. rugged individualism, the cowboy persona (façade) embodied in your president.

A lot of these men on the street - at least in Camden and Philly - are vietnam veterans, with the obvious problems that come with it. Still more of them are the products of divorce. The courts are just as biased as ever and women continue to get the house/apt. & kids. It's a traumatic, humiliating and emasculating experience for most men that go through it. The resources, and more importantly, the social safety net is either not there or not strong enough for the men who need it most.

A good many of them lived as bachelors with their parents, well into their 40's and worked odd jobs here and there. Their parents retire, sell the house, and say - "No! You can't come with us."

It's great, in a self-righteous sort of way, to say that everyone should plan ahead. It's easy to say when you grew up in a middle-class household where the main concern is planning for retirement and all financial matters revolve around it.

The overlooked factor is that there are not enough jobs to go around and if everyone of working age who was physically capable started looking for a job the unemployment figures would look more like eastern Germany .

College? According to the last census less than 25% of Americans finish a four year degree yet we don't see 75% of our population living on the street. Of those that start women are more likely to go than men and are also more likely to finish their degree.

People who are serious about education would be jumping up and down about the cost and availability. Before that they'd be flipping out about the quality of public primary education.
But really, you can't honestly expect everyone to sign up for classes at your local community college. First, there aren't enough seats and your county's budget would be busted trying to quadruple the number of seats.

Second, admit that having a steady pool of "uneducated, desperate workers" hasn't exactly been tough on industry in this country. I don't think that the industrial revolution and mass-migration to this country just happened at the same time by coincidence. I also don't think that special wage and labor laws that apply only to guest workers and our illegal immigration "problems" are a coincidence.

If we sent all of our own, anyone who wanted to go, to college and recruited only the best and brightest from overseas we'd be like france, where "masters of economics" wait tables because there's no work. Forget about what affect that would have on the economy.

Poverty is part of our economy and it always has been. Homelessness is hardly new. 100 years ago it may have been some landless drunk living in a shack in the woods. That sort of thing isn't allowed anymore. The more urbanized and bureaucratic our society becomes the closer it gets to comfortable people and the more uncomfortable it makes them.

As to not be misunderstood, when i brought up letting people live in the woods it was strictly on a voluntary basis and isn't meant as a solution or a means to 'be gone with them.' It's just that some people might prefer a lifestyle free of jobs and bills and the modern conveniences that come with them and that option should be open to people that choose it.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,589
Points
34
Ronald Reagan was wrong on one thing

[troll]
We never should have deinstitutionalized this population to begin with.
[/troll]
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,461
Points
29
Well, trolling aside, you can make a serious argument that Chet is right.

Like most well-meaning reforms, the alternatives to institutionalization were never properly developed or funded.

Is there a human right to live in your own filth? Or is a society that allows such violating the "rights" of the homeless mentally ill to live according to their own genius?
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,069
Points
34
jresta,

You have brought up some very good points. On the issue of "living in the woods," I took your comment with the meaning you intended. I would generally agree with you, too. There are people who do this in places like Alaska, and I truly admire them for it.

As far as education goes, I don't expect everybody to get a college (even two-year) degree. It is unfortunate that 1) not everybody avails themselves of the opportunity to earn a high school diploma, and 2) that some of our schools are so horrible that they provide little real education and fail to give struggling kids the resources they need. I work with enough businesses to see how they struggle to find workers capable of performing in a largely computerized, automated workplace. Even the military will not take recruits without at least a GED. Education remains among the very most important avenues to success.


Michele Zone,

What can I say? Yes, I used a sarcastic tone in my last post. Consider how you come across.

"if you are prepared to listen at great length, I might be able to start helping you understand the complexities of human problems that often lead to homelessness"

"I will always respect your God-given right to a) choose to remain ignorant on a topic and b) spout off on it anyway."

Does that sound a bit patronizing or insulting to you? It does to me.


Getting back to the topic of this thread, I think there are two questions of homelessness that I find intriguing on a professional basis, that have been touched upon.

1. What impact does homelessness, and particularly a segment of that population, have on the social and economic health of cities? For example, do panhandlers drive away shoppers, weakening downtowns and making the privately-owned, security-guarded mall more attractive as a shopping venue?

2. In the competition for resources, where do the needs to support other projects or causes take presedence over the obligation to assist the homeless. In other words, what is the best approach to dealing with the problems of homelessness (as well as caused by the homeless) from the perspective of the community, and our need to balance community interests against those of the individual?
 
Messages
7,628
Points
29
Leavenhouse was built because people in the community looked around and saw that most of the people on the street are men and most of them are black men.

They realized there were no facilities in Camden that were specifically for men (other than the typical warehouse type shelter) but plenty of places existed for women, specifically for women with children.
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That problem is pretty typical. A cultural difference is that you see relatively few Hispanic ‘street’ people. Hispanic culture is very family oriented and they will double up or triple up in a tiny apartment. In many ways, this is more effective and more humane. Everyone is going to have food and shelter and the access to a street address and phone number to place on a job application makes a really huge difference in the ability to get a job. Homeless people who put the street address or phone number of a known shelter on an job application are much less likely to get offered a job. There is enormous discrimination against them. Many of them work and must carefully hide the fact that they are homeless from their employers so they do not get fired over it.

Most areas offer a lot more services to women with children than to single men. There is generally a dearth of services – either public or ‘charitable’ – aimed at helping single men. There is some truth to the stereotype that homeless men are more dangerous than homeless women or homeless families. But, gee, you could say that about single men generally. In organizations that have exclusively male membership, such as fraternities or army barracks, you find more drinking, violence and generally ‘uncivilized’ behavior. But I think it is a mistake to ‘blame the victim’. I think the degree to which homeless men are more dangerous is partly due to the fact that they are more cut off from society, more stigmatized, etc. It seems similar to the fact that studies show that abused wives who murder their abusive husbands, rather than finding another way out, are the ones who are the most severely abused and the most cut off from family and other resources.
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i was talking with my friend about why it's mostly men on the street and of course we got to talking about the ridiculous expectations placed on men - this B.S. rugged individualism, the cowboy persona (façade) embodied in your president.
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There is an interesting book called “More work for mother”. It details the history of technological improvements in the home that, ironically, tended to free up men and place more work on the wife/mom. Men used to be responsible for things like beating the rugs. Then we invented vacuum cleaners and it became ‘women’s work’. Over the course of 300 years or thereabouts, the number of hours of ‘housework’ that a woman does has remained about the same.

Quality of life has gone up but one of the big things this social change did was free men up to go off to jobs that pay cash money. Men are often oblivious to the many ways in which their success is supported by society and by their relationships to people around them and that women or minorities may not receive the same kind of support.

When I was diagnosed with a genetic disorder 2 years ago (May 2001), I promptly returned to college. I figured “I graduated high school as STAR student and a National Merit Scholarship winner in spite of missing 18 or 19 days of school a year. I have ALWAYS had this disorder and it did not prevent me from performing well academically. Nor is there any reason to ‘wait to get well’ since the doctors tell me I will never get well, it is incurable. This IS my life. Might as well get on with living.”

My husband also promptly returned to college. He returned on the theory that his wife is ‘handicapped’ and ‘may never be able to WORK’, therefore he is, out of the goodness of his heart and his deep love for me (heavy sarcasm here) willing to support me (like I am a charity case) for the rest of my life. Gee, I guess cooking, cleaning, raising kids, moving all over the place to follow his military career, keeping the checkbook for 17 years, rehabbing a house and turning it into rental property, etc, was not WORK. Oh, I forgot: “work” does not mean ‘labor which accomplishes something of value’. It means “ labor that comes with a status-y title and, above all, a PAYCHECK.”

That fall, he attempted to take 2 classes while working full time at the same time that I was enrolling in school full-time for the first time in many years. He ultimately had to drop a class. I made it as clear as I could to him that a) I really did not give a damn how much money he earns after he retires from the military if I am DEAD b) I needed his genuine support and care more that year than I ever had before or probably ever would again and if he could not get his priorities straight to help save my life, then he was not worth being married to and c) I did not need him to get a godd*amn degree and invest himself in his career – something he had always selfishly done – what I needed was for him to, by god, MAKE ME DINNER so I could put my energy into going to school and also getting as well as I could get. (In other words: give me support for my career goals in the manner that I had long supported his.)

He has a career and always will, whether he ever completes his Bachelor’s degree or not. I am highly unlikely to be able to have a career without an education because I spent many years investing in his career (rather than a career of my own) and I am medically handicapped. His idea of ‘charity’ assigns me to a lesser and stigmatized life where I am confined to bed, feeling sorry for myself, and obligated to be grateful that he is so kind and generous as to allow me to live off the sweat of his brow (heavy sarcasm). My idea of care involves making it possible for me pursue a full life, so I can distract myself from my misery with interesting classes and such and NOT have every minute of the rest of my life totally wrapped up in how miserable, pathetic, defective, etc, that I am. I am deeply offended that he chose to define me as ‘handicapped’ and someone who ‘will never work’ rather than being even more amazed at my many accomplishments now that he more fully understands what it took for me to do those things. How about giving me credit for my brains, persistence, and other assets?
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A good many of them lived as bachelors with their parents, well into their 40's and worked odd jobs here and there. Their parents retire, sell the house, and say - "No! You can't come with us."
----
My brother almost certainly has a head injury that occurred in infancy. He has impulse control issues and has a somewhat ‘checkered past’. When his marriage ended, he fought for custody of his infant son. The wife was abusive and neglectful, hardly feeding the kid and other details I won’t go into on a public forum. My brother probably knew he was not a very good candidate to be a parent. He got custody in part because our parents took him in and have basically raised the boy while my brother occasionally took him to Disney Land and generally acted like a ‘rich uncle’ rather than a father.

In my opinion, my brother made the best choice available to him for the welfare of his child and fell on his sword to do so. He has had a miserable life because, while his son was genuinely welcomed into the home of our parents, my brother’s presence was barely tolerated and he was treated with much contempt. He now has a place of his own and his teenaged son lives with him part-time and with grandma and grandpa part-time. He was nearly 40 before he was able to move out on his own successfully. If my brother were really the selfish and irresponsible cad he has been labeled as, he could have not bothered to fight for custody and allowed the child to grow up in much worse circumstances while he was free to party.

He made the best choice he knew how in a situation where there were no ‘good’ choices. I am, essentially, not on speaking terms with my brother because he basically tortured me when we were children. But I have a great deal of respect for the choice he made and a great deal of compassion for his ‘failed’ life. I have come to believe that he has a brain injury that can never be proven because it occurred so young that there is no way to say ‘he was functional before X happened and he is like this because of this injury’. But most Americans are quick to judge and insist you ‘prove’ you are handicapped.

Having finally gotten a better name for my own problem than ‘lazy’ and ‘crazy’ just before I turned 36, I now find it extremely difficult to not give people the benefit of the doubt when we don’t know why they just cannot seem to get their act together. I do know that most people are not going to adopt my view nor do I expect them to. But, having lived through it, it is a view I cannot set aside lightly in order to conveniently pigeon-hole people.
-----
Poverty is part of our economy and it always has been.
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Poverty is also a relative concept. America typically claims that about 12 to 14% of all Americans are ‘poor’. But, less than one half of one percent of Americans are ‘poor’ by the definition of ‘poverty’ provided by a poll in India. But I have also read stuff that would like to claim that 30% of Americans are ‘poor’.

However, in India, most people don’t have much. Being poor amidst North American affluence can be harder to accept than being poor in a place where the resources just don’t exist to remedy your situation. How do you define poverty in a country with so much wealth? It is a difficult thing to answer.
----
Homelessness is hardly new. 100 years ago it may have been some landless drunk living in a shack in the woods. That sort of thing isn't allowed anymore. The more urbanized and bureaucratic our society becomes the closer it gets to comfortable people and the more uncomfortable it makes them.
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Years ago, I discussed this very thing with my husband. Basically, we noted that while the ceiling has been raised, it really does not change the ‘floor’. This causes a lot of tension between the extremes.
---
As to not be misunderstood, when i brought up letting people live in the woods it was strictly on a voluntary basis and isn't meant as a solution or a means to 'be gone with them.' It's just that some people might prefer a lifestyle free of jobs and bills and the modern conveniences that come with them and that option should be open to people that choose it.
----
Actually, friction between ‘settled’ peoples and ‘wanderers’ has a long history and there does not appear to be a solution in sight. Governments have long tried to force cultures who prefer to be mobile to settle on a fixed street address, a fixed last name, a definable (and, thus, taxable) occupation, etc. A fascinating book that addresses some of this (among other issues) is “Seeing like a state” by James C. Scott.

And thanks for your comments.
 
Messages
7,628
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29
Michael Stumpf said:

Michele Zone,

What can I say? Yes, I used a sarcastic tone in my last post. Consider how you come across.

"if you are prepared to listen at great length, I might be able to start helping you understand the complexities of human problems that often lead to homelessness"

"I will always respect your God-given right to a) choose to remain ignorant on a topic and b) spout off on it anyway."

Does that sound a bit patronizing or insulting to you? It does to me.


Yes, I certainly can see how you would take it that way. However, from my perspective, I originally did not address any one person in particular but you felt compelled to reply directly to my first post in what came across as a dismissive manner. You then called me a 'commie planner'.

I chose to take that humorously and not whine about how you were being 'mean' to me. My first sarcastic retort I then labeled 'malarkey' and I have made every effort to make it clear that I hope that people will understand when I am attempting to be humorous.

So, it seems to me like you sure can dish it out and you probably think you are being funny when you do so. But,when I do the exact same type of thing, you get offended and attack me in spite of the fact that I took your sarcastic remarks as humor initially.

We could spend several more posts doing 'he said', 'she said' and getting nowhere. Or we could let bygones be bygones and make an attempt to communicate our very different points of view without all the bs. I prefer option 'b'. Is that one thing you can agree on with me, in spite of the fact that I am a 'commie planner'? lol.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,225
Points
25
You'd better watch out Michele, there are some touchy people on this board. ;)
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,069
Points
34
Sorry if you took offense. The "commie planner" term is one often used in these forums in a humourous context. We also usually throw in a ;) or :) just to signal when something is intended as a joke.

On the whole, this discussion of homelessness and its impacts on cities is one I have enjoyed.
 
Messages
7,628
Points
29
Michael Stumpf said:
Sorry if you took offense. The "commie planner" term is one often used in these forums in a humourous context. We also usually throw in a ;) or :) just to signal when something is intended as a joke.

On the whole, this discussion of homelessness and its impacts on cities is one I have enjoyed.

Actually, I didn't take offense at that. But, having had that exchange with you in an amicable fashion and having been addressed directly by you in a way that comes across as dismissive because you gave a short 'solution' without any real explanations as to why you believe that, I felt there was nothing wrong with firing a friendly return shot across your bow. Then stuff started to get ugly and it seems war got declared somewhere along the way while I was still trying to play. lol.

In all fairness, I am a 'loud mouthed brassy broad' and I have a long history of making a bad first impression. Butting heads with one usually reasonable individual (that is a reference to YOU, in case you miss it -- gee, I am short of sleep and will probably now get called 'snarky' again when I am trying so hard to be diplomatic) seems like an extremely tame 'christening' compared to the lynch mob that outright demanded that I be removed from another forum.

Fortunately, the list owner and I had worked together (on that list and several related ones) before I disappeared for 2 years of medical hell. So she was readily forgiving my for my drug-induced manic state -- and would have also given me the benefit of the doubt had she not known me, but I think it was easier because she knew me at a time when I was an excellent moderator and generaly sane individual.

She then put up with my crap -- with me on Review for several months of drug withdrawal -- until I regained some semblance of my former self and could open my mouth without inciting a riot.

I also did realize that I was a total stranger choosing to jump into the midst of a 'hot button' type topic (homelessness). Can you say "TARGET"? lol.
 
Messages
7,628
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29
Michael Stumpf said:
Sorry if you took offense. The "commie planner" term is one often used in these forums in a humourous context. We also usually throw in a ;) or :) just to signal when something is intended as a joke.

On the whole, this discussion of homelessness and its impacts on cities is one I have enjoyed.

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention: Gee, I have been here a whole 3 days (or thereabouts) and have yet to master all the technical details. All efforts on my part to insert winky and smiley faces have met with absolutely no success. Can you please tell me where they keep the triplicate forms for requesting an extension on mastering all the technical stuff? Or, alternately, direct me to the appropriate quaterly training session? (This would probably be a really good place to insert a smiley or winky, if I only knew how.)

It might also be useful for you to know that I am not your run-of-the-mill highly computer-literate internet geek. This marriage to my laptop was strictly a 'shotgun wedding'. I got hooked on having some connection to the outside world via internet while homeschooling my gifted/ld boys and taking online college classes when we lived on a remote military base 40 miles from the nearest town and 70+ miles from the 'nearest signs of actual civilization'. So, I am sort of a 'retard' when it comes to some of this stuff. But the folks at the homeless shelter think I am a Computer Goddess. So that is partly a matter of 'the crowd' I am hanging with. (please place a smiley or winky on order and insert it HERE when it arrives, 6 months from now, after my triplicate forms have been appropriately mangled, rejected, filled out for the 4th time, hostages have been taken in my frothing at the mouth frustration over how bureaucracies work, and other fun stuff like that)
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,069
Points
34
Wow! You are too used to the military bureaucracy, where everything must be documented and takes forever. We are planners and always respond immediately to any request. (An unmarked envelope, please, and in non-sequentially-numbered twenties will do just fine)

For a ;) simply type in a ; followed by a ) with nospaces in between.

To get a :) you need to use the : instead of ;

A 8) can be made with an 8 and a )

There are several more, but I have never figured them out.
 
Messages
7,628
Points
29
Michael Stumpf said:
Wow! You are too used to the military bureaucracy, where everything must be documented and takes forever. We are planners and always respond immediately to any request. (An unmarked envelope, please, and in non-sequentially-numbered twenties will do just fine)

For a ;) simply type in a ; followed by a ) with nospaces in between.

To get a :) you need to use the : instead of ;

A 8) can be made with an 8 and a )

There are several more, but I have never figured them out.

ROFLOL. Hey, I am 'naive', NOT 'stupid'. My sister is a career bureaucrat and has put up with nearly as much triplicate forms and silliness as my military husband. ;)

But, thanks for 'training' me. Now maybe I can reduce the odds of 'inserting foot' after I have performed the usual 'opening mouth' procedure. :0
 
Messages
7,628
Points
29
Michael Stumpf said:

2. In the competition for resources, where do the needs to support other projects or causes take presedence over the obligation to assist the homeless. In other words, what is the best approach to dealing with the problems of homelessness (as well as caused by the homeless) from the perspective of the community, and our need to balance community interests against those of the individual?

Often, homelessness is sort of the ‘symptom’, not really ‘the problem’. If we had appropriate support available for folks who are mentally ill, that would almost certainly dramatically reduce the number of ‘street people’ (which are really just ‘the tip of the iceberg’ and also the most visible element of this population – but the one that seems to be what folks are really focusing on in this discussion because of their impact on downtown areas, etc).

One cheap, simple, and effective form of intervention that has a proven track record for some things in other countries is to assign someone – whether a family member or a nurse – to physically watch a person take their medication. This has applications for things beyond mental illness, but it seems pretty apparent that it would be a tool you could use to help people with mental illness to remain as competent and independent as possible without just ‘cutting them loose’.

In one country (sorry, I don’t remember which one, but I am thinking ‘Far East’), they had a serious problem with venereal disease. Free clinics were hardly making a dent because you could not count on people to finish their prescribed antibiotics. They instituted a program where they sat the person down in the clinic and a nurse (or other personnel) watched them take a high dose of zythromax all in one sitting. Zythromax stays in the system 10 days. So, a high dose given all at once had about an 80% cure rate – far higher than previous programs.

This technique was also used for making sure people with chronic/long term medical problems took their medication. If a family member is able to take this role, it takes very little in the way of public resources for the doctor to ‘assign’ them the responsibility and explain how this will work to both the patient and the family member who will be held responsible for physically watching them swallow their meds. This is incredibly low cost and dramatically effective for some things.

Some homeless people with mental illness are in a category where they are ‘sane’ and functional if they take their medication routinely. Many of them are sort of on a ‘hamster wheel’ or ‘revolving door’ policy whereby they get stuck in a loony bin while off medication because of their extreme behavior, then, while in the institution, they get cleaned up and put on meds, and, the minute they are ‘rational’ again, they are released on their own recognizance. They then go off medication, become dangerous, etc, go back to the institution, etc. Some people go through this cycle over and over, without it resolving anything.

So, it seems pretty apparent that for some of them A) if someone made them take their medication, they might well be able to hold down a job and remain in an apartment with little more in the way of ‘mental health support’ than that, B) if they were in a program like this and actively deceived the person watching them swallow their medication, you could legally hold them liable when they went ‘nuts’ again and had to be pulled off the street and locked up.

I think this would be a good way to get around the ‘bleeding heart’ stance of ‘they just cannot be held responsible, it is all due to their mental illness and beyond their control, they are fine when on medication’, etc, ad nauseum. The reason it would get you around the ‘benefit of the doubt’ is because you cannot claim ‘oh, they just FORGOT to take their medication and, once they forget, they then cannot help themselves’. Instead, you have good reason to believe -- and maybe the ability to prove -- that it was a willful and criminally negligent act to deceive the person watching them take the medication.

You then get into other issues, like how to determine if the person who is supposed to watch them is really doing their part, how liable this person would be for the actions of the mentally ill person if they failed in their duty, etc – the mentally ill person could claim that the program ‘failed’ them because that individual didn’t show once, or whatever. But, it is an idea I am tossing out cuz ‘you asked’. :)

One of the problems in America is the ‘all or nothing’/‘sink or swim’ policy of so many of our programs – either you are locked up in an institution or you are set free with no follow up. Frequently, there really isn’t any genuine support or ‘middle ground’ measures available. Supportive housing is one of those 'middle ground'/supportive measures for folks who cannot make it all on their own but can make it with some mechanism helping to bridge the gap between what it takes to be independent and what they are capable of.

For example: my oldest son has multiple ‘invisible’ handicaps (that took many years to get properly diagnosed and treated) but a high IQ. He can learn to do things independently but it takes more time, support, and accommodation than for a ‘normal’ child – as well as a certain amount of trial and error until we find what works. I have joked for years that I am going to get a house with an apartment over the garage and force him to ‘move out’ to the apartment over the garage as a first step towards slowly helping him become independent. I believe he will be able to live a full and ‘normal’ life, but only because I have given him extraordinary support and worked very hard to help him find ways around his problems (and not all parents are able to do that for kids like him – I also have joked for years that he will end up ‘sleeping under a bridge’ someday). I have no expectation that he is going to move out at age 18 – unless it is to an apartment over the garage. ;) But he will move out eventually.

Then we could provide hospices for folks dying of AIDS, cancer, etc.

Not one of these ideas is a ‘program to help the homeless’ – they are programs to help people with specified problems that can lead to homelessness, like mental illness or incurable disease – but all would impact levels of homelessness. Or so I think.

I also think every one of these approaches would be ‘cheaper’ than what is done now as well as being more humane treatment of folks with serious problems. A lot of programs to ‘help the homeless’ are designed in a controlling and hostile manner, rather than a supportive one. Those programs may make things worse overall, rather than better, and are not readily embraced by people in real need who would rather retain some choice and dignity in their lives rather than submit to humiliation and coercion to get basic needs met.

With programs that are more effective, more cost efficient, and more humane, it seems like, in the long run, it would free up some of those limited government resources for other things. Right now, we spend huge amounts of money on emergency room visits and the like that wouldn’t happen if the person were not out on the street. Of course, that brings up another problem: these types of solutions can be difficult to implement because you cannot just take the money budgeted for emergency room visits and use it to provide supportive housing or a hospice for AIDS patients, etc.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
Michele Zone said:

Quality of life has gone up but one of the big things this social change did was free men up to go off to jobs that pay cash money. Men are often oblivious to the many ways in which their success is supported by society and by their relationships to people around them and that women or minorities may not receive the same kind of support.

i would hardly consider making up most of the street and prison populations being successful.


Gee, I guess cooking, cleaning, raising kids, moving all over the place to follow his military career, keeping the checkbook for 17 years, rehabbing a house and turning it into rental property, etc, was not WORK. Oh, I forgot: “work” does not mean ‘labor which accomplishes something of value’. It means “ labor that comes with a status-y title and, above all, a PAYCHECK.”

Having spent quite a bit of time in the military i'd say that you got "stuck" with the fulfilling work. The work that brings home the cash is of the rote variety . . . as is usually the case for men.


However, in India, most people don’t have much. Being poor amidst North American affluence can be harder to accept than being poor in a place where the resources just don’t exist to remedy your situation. How do you define poverty in a country with so much wealth? It is a difficult thing to answer.

I don't think it's difficult to answer at all. If you're cash poor and you have mouths to feed and you don't own land/animals then you're poor. If you make $40 a day and food costs $15 then it's no different than making $4 a day and having food cost $1.50. If you're kids need heavy winter clothes and you lack the skills and resources to make them yourself and are forced to buy them then you're poor. If your days require long hours but you live in a rowhouse and only have windows on the east and west sides of the house - requiring artificial lighting for most of the evening - then you're poor.

People living an agrarian or semi-nomadic lifestyle are only poor if you discount their skill set, their (common) land, their livestock, and their social capital. I think most of these people are very rich, much more so than their urban counterparts here or there. These people can and do become impoverished when their skills, land, and social capital are siezed by urbanism/capitalism. It's the tired excuse for sweatshops "well, if i don't pay these people $2/day they would be starving." Yet, the company spokesperson fails to mention that the plant was built on the community's pasture, against their wishes.

(btw - before "commie planner" starts flying i'm a strong supporter of free markets and free association. I think the former is incorrectly used as a synonym for capitalism when the two are strikingly different.)
 
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BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,461
Points
29
Or when a multinational tied to corrupt local oligarchs allows an oil pipeline to pollute the farmland and water supplies of the local residents-like in Nigeria (the most notorious example), Ecuador, or parts of Indonesia. Think of that when you try to justify a vehicle getting 13 mpg-or a 4,000 square foot oil-heated house for a family of three-and I know that I am a guilty evil American, too)

I would add, jresta, traditional societies become poorer when their traditionally produced goods and farm crops are flooded by the "efficient" (what a joke) products of factory farmed agribusiness.

On the other hand, the insidious attractiveness of modern consumerist societies is often hard to resist-particularly for the young. It often seems easier to go to the "glamorous" cities seen on the village's one television set than to accept a life of physical labor as a peasant. And, we can't forget that some people DO make it. Will the majority have a better life? That's the question.
 

oryzias

Member
Messages
2
Points
0
I would recommend to anyone interested in learning more about this subject to visit www.nationalhomeless.org , the website of the Natioal Coalition for the Homeless. The information found there appears to be well-researched, and relatively unbiased. In particular, please see the Fact Sheet entitled, "Why are People Homeless?"

Also, please see "Hate Crimes and Violence Against People Experiencing Homelessness." Perhaps some of you will recognize the importance of your own rhetoric regarding the homeless, and how this feeds their marginalization.

It seems to me that there are two schools of thought regarding homelessness. Most of you seem to share the first; that the homeless have failed society by refusing to live up to our standards (in refusing help and failing to thrive, despite attempts made for their success.) Hence, we are justified in hating the homeless, who choose to be a burden.

The second is that society has failed the homeless, by providing inadequate support and resources, and by creating structural shortcomings, such as unemployment and a shortage of affordable housing, that virtually guarantee that a certain percentage of society will be homeless. Hence, the homeless are to be empathized with, and helped.

While I definitely prefer the second theory, I realize that individual human beings have free choice, and can and do make poor decisions which can result in homelessness. However, I would neither generalize that ALL homeless people are solely responsible for their fate, nor are they "victims" of society.

Does free will absolve us of our responsiblity to seek solutions to end homelessness? Of course not. Shipping the homeless "somewhere else" seems to me to be the worst kind of shirking.
Why not try to lesson our structural causes of homelessness, while also requiring an element of individual responsibility?
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,069
Points
34
oryzias said:
It seems to me that there are two schools of thought regarding homelessness. Most of you seem to share the first; that the homeless have failed society by refusing to live up to our standards (in refusing help and failing to thrive, despite attempts made for their success.) Hence, we are justified in hating the homeless, who choose to be a burden.

The second is that society has failed the homeless, by providing inadequate support and resources, and by creating structural shortcomings, such as unemployment and a shortage of affordable housing, that virtually guarantee that a certain percentage of society will be homeless. Hence, the homeless are to be empathized with, and helped.

I think if you read the post carefully (here and a few in other threads) you will see that most of us fall into both camps. Some people have not found the societal support - families, employers, and the like as well as government programs - to keep them from becoming homeless. Other are and remain homeless through their personal failings and/or decisions they have made.

I also think it is wrong to suggest that people here "hate" the homeless. Again, this seems to suggest that all of the homeless are alike. What I have said, and heard from others, is that the negative impacts of some of the people on the street, thinks such as aggressive panhandling, public urination, etc., do have impacts on the health of our cities, downtowns, and neighborhoods. This has to be recognized within our field of planning as we struggle to revitalize communities and curb sprawl.

A few weeks ago I witnessed one agressive panhandler in Chicago. He would ask for change, and when turned down, would follow, yell at, and try to intimidate his victim. When I passed him, this person reeked of cigarettes and alchohol. I don't need to wonder if the teenage girl or businessman I saw him harassing took home a negative image of the city, and whether that might influence their desire to shop or live there in the future. Should our society tolerate this kind of behaviour? The only answer is 'No." Treatment should be made available, but if they fail to take advantage of it, they should be "harassed" by the police or locked up where they cannot threaten anyone. That is not me hating a group of people or even an individual, but taking a hard line against those who deprive others of their rights, safety, and opportunity.


Edit

Why not try to lesson our structural causes of homelessness, while also requiring an element of individual responsibility?

I missed this at the end of your post, but seeing it, I think we can agree on the right path to a solution.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,461
Points
29
I think Michael hit it on the head, most of us recognize that there are different reasons for being homeless, and that there are certainly people who "society" has failed. But, there are the lazy, the willful, and the violent. You can look for root causes until the cows come home, but the fact is that the latter minority of problem bums (and it is a minority) are still there and still have to be dealt with on a daily basis.

I guess the problem I see-which leads to the somewhat aggressive statements by some of us-is that the poverty industry-and it is an industry-is unwilling to accept the second case. All homeless people are innocent victims of society. Any reforms that limit unrestricted cash payments or require "personal responsibility" are "fascist attacks on the poor." Any attempt to enforce local community standards-at all-are "caving into yuppie suburbanites."

This leads to (somewhat facetious) statements like "ship them to the next town." Nobody really believes that to be the solution (as the resident of a "next town" to the Bay Area, I certainly hope not.)
 

chriswerner_1

Member
Messages
4
Points
0
Oryzias,

In your post you said that you did the homeless thing for awhile. Having had the experience of living out of a vehicle also (barely running minivan) and having made a new meaning for the term "self-storage" I can relate to some of what you are saying. I paid $15 for a Y pass (to shower daily) and paid $12 a month for a phone message service plus a monthly fee for a mail box. I was also in the US living in a state that didn't require automobile insurance... (ah, those were the days) It's a good thing the leasing company had no idea where I was or my 10 year old vehicle/home would have been repossesed.
I have also slept in some very odd places when times were tough. But if you review the main point of my message it is not to say that homelessness can't "happen." My circumstances came about as several poor decisions. It wasn't the result of alcohol or drugs (since I've never been into that scene) But the point of the message is that there is always a way out of this type of situation if one will only do what it takes. There are shelters out there. There are churches that will help also. Homelessness should be a temporary thing and not a permanent way of life. To say "there is no excuse for homelessness" really means there is no excuse to remain homeless when there are so many resources out there to get back on the right foot. So then we're back to two broad groups of people. 1. the mentally incompetent. They cannot fend for themselves because they don't have the capacities to do so, in which case they should be introduced to a care facility. You wouldn't leave a helpless child on the street for the very same reasons. The second group is those who have chosen (perhaps by default) not to get out of the situation they're in. This includes addicts and those who stubbornly refuse to join society perhaps due to their philosophical beliefs etc. That is why I said earlier that perhaps these people who are choosing not to live by the basic rules of our civilization should be evicted from our civilization. This of course is infeasible. Our governments are not about to "ship off" the undesirables to some distant locale or a gas chamber. Obviously another solution needs to be implemented. That would be stricter by-laws that are rigourously enforced. The goal of which is to gently prod our disenfranchised bohemians and drug addicts to take the preferred course of action which is to take advantage of the resources available to them and or to just do what it takes to become employable... get off drugs.. etc.etc.
 
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