by John Hawkins | July 15, 2002 1:56 pm
Coming To The Obvious Conclusion About Homelessness: Who is surprised by this?
“Derrick Clark, 24, and Scotty Weeks, 25, left their middle-class Seattle apartments a week ago to pose as homeless people. The Web page designers took time off from work to live on downtown streets.
Yesterday they returned home, weak, blistered and stuttering — and ready for showers.”
So they spent a week of their lives living outside and basically came to the conclusion that being homeless sucks? Wow, like that’s a startling conclusion. What other idea could they have come up with? “Wow, homelessness is great, we’re getting rid of our websites and we’re going to live in the alley behind the Safeway from now on?!?”
Speaking of homelessness, we as a society are not willing to do what it takes to eliminate the problem. Most statistics I’ve seen point to somewhere between 65% – 85% of the homeless either being alcoholics, junkies, or having mental problems. Unless you deal with those underlying problems, you are not going to be able to get these people off the streets long term. So shelters, soup kitchens, temporary housing, etc., all may be nice things to do, but long-term they probably aren’t going to really get the job done.
What we need to do is make homelessness illegal. Then you round the homeless up and force them to dry out, get clean, or go to counseling/take drugs to get their mental illness under control. You do that for a period of time, say 3-6 months, and then you allow them to go to halfway houses for another 3-6 months while they make the transition back to supporting themselves. The people without mental problems or substance abuse problems can go straight to the halfway house or may even get a short term loan to help them get back on their feet depending on the situation.
You may think this doesn’t seem like a “Conservative” solution because it requires the creation of a government program that will require extensive funds but after a year or two of this you’d see homelessness drop drastically. Not only would that mean that the funds for the program could be cut, but soup kitchens, shelters, etc., could also be dramatically scaled back. Most importantly, you’d take a group of people who are totally useless to society and to themselves and you’d help them get their lives back under control. That would be a worthwhile use of our tax dollars and it would make a genuine difference in people’s lives.
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