Letter: Offer compassionate services, not heartless laws and enforcement
After making a number of points about the negative impacts homeless people and their makeshift encampments have on our town and surrounding environment, James Defiance concludes, “…someone must take responsibility and action against these homeless camps and prohibit them from continuing on.”
The thing is, homelessness is not just a local problem. We are not being flocked to by homeless people from everywhere else. We are experiencing our share of the nationwide epidemic of homelessness. It is not likely to be solved by breaking up their camps and issuing prohibitions. When people lose their homes, they lose the infrastructure that enables the housed to be clean and responsible members of society. What are they supposed to do? They are reduced to being human animals with biological needs. They eat, drink, sleep, excrete, socialize, do what they can to care for their kids and pets if they have them. But they can’t clean up after themselves nor properly dispose of their waste. If we acquiesce to an economic system that makes it impossible for such a large portion of our population to house itself fittingly, how dare we blame and punish its victims? Just for starters, what if we put dumpsters where they would be accessible to homeless folks? And multiplied the number of public restrooms? For my tax money, I’d rather see it go to compassionate services than to heartless laws and enforcement that ought to shame us all.
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