Making the Homeless Move On--We Just Don't Want Them Here
Guilty As Charged
Our community has fought the idea of having a homeless shelter in our town. Our city council meetings have addressed the problem, and in the end each and every time, the shelter was not given proper zoning, or any other way they could come up with to block it's existence, for the council felt that a homeless shelter in town would look bad as far as the tourist trade was concerned.
My argument, that what looked worse for the tourists to see, the homeless shelter, or having to step over sleeping homeless people on the sidewalks downtown? did not go over well and was basically ignored as a sarcastic comment.
I still say that it would look better to the tourist trade here to see that our town was not ignoring the problem, but was addressing it with a shelter. They just did not see it that way. The police continued to arrest them for illegal camping, and for loitering, and for vagrancy. The problem with the loitering charge as far as I was concerned was this fact. It meant that the homeless people had to be constantly moving and walking, for if they stopped anywhere to rest, it was considered loitering. This to me seemed unreasonable. The vagrancy charge was dished out to any homeless person who had less than two dollars in their pocket anytime they were stopped. This was not as unreasonable as not being able to stop anyplace, but it also was discriminatory, for chances were going to be that their last couple of bucks had been spent on a burger for lunch.
Well, as if all of that was not enough law pointed directly at them and their kind, now the city has sold the place where the homeless were camping, in our river bottom. It was sold to a private party, and there are now signs posted everywhere that say no trespassing, violators will be prosecuted.
Now, even more than before the homeless are hauled off to jail, and now they don't even have to be camping, just walking down in the general direction of the place. Now, even more than before we have crowds of homeless people crowded into the shopping centers, the mall, the beach, and anyplace they can think of to go for they have been pushed out of the one place they had. Now it appears that we have even more of a problem than we ever had before.
I feel bad for these people, for they truly have no place to go to just sit and think, to try to rest, to eat or do anything that every other human being in this town can do. They are hopelessly poor, they still have the homeless stigma, and now feel like they are being persecuted for being who they are, and they are being pushed out of town, or they will go to jail, eventually. Their only illegal offense really is not having a home, or the money to get a place. They are guilty of being poor.
A Sad Situation
I think it says something (and it isn't anything good) about our society today when people can not only just walk past those less fortunate without feeling anything for them and their situation, but be able to ignore their obvious slide down hill if that were possible, from not having a home proper, to not even having a place to sit down legally. Still, they walk past them not seeming to even see them. Worst still is walking past them with comments like, "I'm not giving you anything, go get a job, you are just lazy, I'm not helping you get drunk, etc."
Many of these homeless people are children, kids who just have not had the help of the adults in their lives to direct them in the right direction, who do not know what to do. Kids who have not been fortunate enough to even have an adult in their life at all. Kids, none the less, whatever the situation, who now have society seemingly turn against them so they cling to one another trying the best they can to be safe, stay safe and not become a statistic. It is just sad.
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