Letter: Many layers to homelessness
I understand in October there’s to be a “big” powwow about the homeless. Let’s not get lazy and think one big solution is going to handle a multitude of intersecting but actually unrelated problems. This always creates bigger problems. Looking around, what I noticed is these factors that need to be addressed individually.
First there is stinky Robert. The guy with the bags who comes around stinking to high heaven while everyone is eating. Robert is not homeless. Robert lives by himself, in a house on Blake. He uses the Extended Table and is the same problem there. Robert responds favorably to those telling him he stinks and needs to bathe so he is capable of the task. Whoever has him in that house needs to case supervise him more often.
Second is the homeless whose traditional hangout has been the north side of Seventh, from probably since the Reagan administration. The fact that the new pedestrian walk put the smoking section of restaurant row on that side of the street creates more tensions between varied lifestyles than we’ve seen in the past. Community believed a bit more unsightly to patio dining.
The city took the gazebo roof under the guise of removing this problem, but the fact its removal was scheduled to happen with the new landscaping that was supposed to follow up (the next season) the southside improvements. The sunken garden was filled. So it seems the city dropped the ball on that one and is pointing the finger at the community that’s been there for finger-pointing through a couple of downturns of economy and now the present frustrations of not knowing how the bridge project will effect core businesses’ bottom line.
Then the panhandlers. A form of employment traditionally performed by street people, selling pity for the cash on hand it offers. Easily handled by accepting that panhandling is a form of busking and thus makes it subject to a program of permitting buskers to perform at these spots of high volume traffic. If it isn’t quick cash, meth-heads and the like won’t stick around to become legitimate.
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