What those who say would like to help with the "homelessness" in this nation should do is hire reasonably intelligent homeless people (like me) to be liaisons between them and those afflicted. Because what I read every single day shows the disconnect. And I do not believe it is intentional, although the reasoning seems to be that of comfort level... or lack thereof, rather... of those saying they want to help and the general proximity of those they are claiming to want to help. There is a chasm between us and those "helping."
Yeah, that's a back-handed way of saying we need better communication, but it's the only thing that people seem to notice. You have to slap people in the face these days, otherwise they do not listen to you. You have to grab them and shake them... you know, like a baby. Are you paying attention now? This is what you have to do, everyone. You have to shock people into reacting. And usually, those reactionary types never seem to understand the problems this issue faces. So it may just be punitive... I dunno. But let's take a solid look at this problem: and the very first issue of homelessness comes from the general public and the perceptions that homeless people deserve what they have received.
This flawed philosophy has to die. The Ayn Rand "People" are pushing this agenda. No matter what side of the aisle you exist, to blame those afflicted with this unwanted stigma and situation, that has to end. The Hyper Moralist, or Republican, by another name, has to stop using phony Christianity to push their agenda. I call it "'phony' Christianity" because it is. Jesus would never advocate blaming homeless people for their predicament. That philosophy is not Christian. And anyone holding that belief should not be allowed power in any system of government. There needs to be a separation of church and state anyway, so the last thing we all need is someone wielding power through a religious-puppet philosophy. Especially if that ('Christian') philosophy has been hijacked by extremists.
After you get rid of those elements, you then focus on getting the homeless a place of residency. If you want to take care of the home less... find them homes. Yeah, I know... you say "that's an oversimplification!" Maybe. Sometimes the best options are the most obvious ones, no? And, if you can't manage that... a place for them to congregate without the fear of some sort of Moral Hammer being levied upon them, you're part of the overall problem.
They need showers at the same facility. They need a place to put their stuff. What they have right now, M.A.S.C. (Multi-Agency Service Center), is too antiquated, not large enough to accommodate all those affected, and is ripe with corruption and racial favoritism. Not my words, mind you, but the words of people I have interviewed over the past two years. There is a pattern of corruption in that place. And if the city knows about it, they are culpable before and after the fact. Plus the lack of area in which M.A.S.C. has to work with is too small. They need more space. And, if you want them to be away from the downtown area, move the facility. Find another place on the outskirts of town if need be, but do something.
San Luis Obispo has done something similar to what I propose: http://www.pradodaycenter.org/
I have actually been to this place. The facility is not in the downtown area, so there is not as much homeless traffic in the area the city wants... cleansed. That's what it is, you know... a sort of "ethnic cleansing," only it should be called "economic cleansing." Anyway... there is your model. Church groups come in and feed them, too. Every single day. There is also showers at this facility. The one thing I would advocate that they did not have is a computer work station for those looking for work. That was the only thing they did not have and could have used. They had one computer, and that was primarily for games. They get all the homeless hopped up on carbohydrates so they do not wander into their downtown area. They keep 'em fat and lethargic... and that sounds awful, and is... but it's another alternative. Again, there is room for improvement there. But you have to want to try.
Also, we need to realize as well that the poor and homeless do not have to leave the public space, downtown, or anywhere else for that matter. To criminalize the existence of a person, because you do not like their socioeconomic status or the clothing they wear is unconstitutional and pushes a corporate agenda that should be illegal when applied to citizens existing in public space, and believe it is [illegal]. To criminalize such behavior is abhorrent and lacks empathy and does nothing but put up one more wall where there are a bevy of walls. The disconnect affects the thinking of those afflicted. I know this because I am out there. I see, smell, taste, and hear it all. I have been out here for two straight years.
Some people like to call me a "Professional West-Coast Bum," but I prefer to call myself an Poverty-Stricken American Citizen. I would also consider myself a "Writer Aspiring To Be An Author." That's a long, twisting, winding road, wrought with all sorts of pitfalls and Chronic Corporate Masterbators. It's tough being told what you are doing is wrong, when you know otherwise. It's tough when people yell at you to "get a job you bum!," but never bother to even ask you what you are doing. My "job" is a twenty-four-hour one. I simply do not have time to let my guard down... to sit behind four walls and watch television or play video games or... whatever. And I am not chastising people for doing that... but I just want people to know that what I do out here is a full-time situation. So the next time you are relaxing behind those four walls, think about guys like me who are out here all the time... standing up for people who have no money, which, in this country, means you have no voice, which also means you have no rights.
Out of The Berkeley Voice, there is a quote that reads, "While the economy has turned around for the middle class and corporate class"... you see, even that is a lie. There is no "middle class." Well... half of it is factual. There is a "corporate class," but the rest of us are just poor. Especially the "working class." They're the poorest, and they are the 99%. The Corporate Masters swill three-hundred-dollar bottles of champagne on their leer jets on the way to Paris, with their Mistresses, all the while chanting, "FREEDOM FRIES! FREEDOM FRIES! FREEDOM FRIES!"
And sending the police at us like the Hounds of Hell is not working, either. The "broken-window" theory works if you're talking about property. But, again, people are not "broken windows." Now that is an oversimplification of the situation if I ever heard one. Yesterday, my friend Bruce told me of a horror story with his interaction with a couple Berkeley Police, just last night. My friend Bruce had one of his two guitars stolen from him. He knew the perpetrator and where he was... the kid said to Bruce that he "bought it at 'Starving Musicians.'" Bruce did not like the answer and called the police, to make a report so he can get his property back... legally.
The police officer said to Bruce, and I am paraphrasing, "How do I even know if it's your guitar?" Bruce then said, "Because I have it on video right here," and brandished his phone for the officer to see... but the police officer reiterated his (obstructive) point, "That doesn't prove it's yours." Bruce was then told there was nothing they (police) could do, and then gave Bruce a "trespassing" ticket because he was panhandling in front of the Dollar Store. He was not "trespassing," however... as I walked past him near the time this went down, and noticed he was (legally) nowhere near the front door or property of the Dollar Store. He was on the PUBLIC SIDEWALK, about eight feet from the property line, which only extends a foot from the building.
This is harassment. This is what it looks, sounds and smells like. Would the police officer have acted this way if someone in the Berkeley Hills had called about their stolen guitar? Most likely, as reasonably intelligent people could most likely muster in thought, no is the answer to that question. Not even close, either. And this shows you the mentality that says those who pay more taxes over others who do not have more rights. There it is, manifested in true form. Beautiful... perfect... hatred. Discrimination, by a different name. Human Rights are being trampled in a town that flies a (Light-blue) United Nations flag across from city hall, standing for Human Rights, obviously.
I also would like to stand up for those who do not wish for services. As long as they are not breaking any existing laws at the time, there should be no action taken against them by the State... and ESPECIALLY a CORPORATION OR A GROUP OF CORPORATIONS. SMS Holdings/Block By Block/Downtown [Berkeley] Business Association (DBA) cannot have control over American Citizens UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, PERIOD. THE PUBLIC SPACE IS THE PUBLIC'S SPACE. BUSINESS DOES NOT CONTROL PUBLIC SPACE. PERIOD. And for those of you who say, "Well, he deserved it, he was begging," Jesus Christ begged... many monks carry a "beggar's bowl."
You're judging this sh*t the wrong way... by judging it. And if you claim "Christian" status, you are definitely in trouble. Read that book you claim to know once in a while. It's chock full of good lessons; lessons you seem to not get or understand, apparently. Yeah... I'm judging you... I'm not a Christian. I believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ... I just don't like the Power Structure, or Government, by another name. I don't like it meddling in the process. Hey, if you want to feed people... I am all for that. Keep that up. But stay out of our government, and if you are going to involve yourself in our system of government, try practicing what you preach.