Posts tagged ‘Homeless’

February 29, 2016

Tax Increases, Affordable Housing, What About Jobs?

by lewwaters

Ho Bo 2We all realize there is a homeless population in our community. A population that for any number of reasons, seems to have grown over the last couple years. Along with that growth comes the problem of how do we deal with them.

Once was the time they were referred to as bums, ho bo’s, vagrants, derelicts, tramps and such and communities did their best to usher them away. A kinder term from years ago was a drifter. From what I have read it seemed to peak during the years of the Great Depression, but has been around for all time.

But times have changed and now they are seen as “homeless,” people simply down on their luck, pushed out of jobs by greedy corporations, landlords or just the economic times as we continue struggling to climb out of the Great Recession that started about 9 years ago.

read more »

January 3, 2016

What We Really Need Is Good Paying Jobs

by lewwaters

Tenement 3Not too surprising to see the Lazy C editorializing in the Sunday edition, “Make Housing Affordable” with, “In order to thrive, our community must accommodate young families, newcomers.”

Wasn’t it years worth of pushing for more and more “affordable housing” that led to the mortgage bubble that burst and saw our economy tank?

How about instead of pushing for more government involvement in housing, government and envirowackos get out of the way and allow some good paying, family wage middle class jobs be created instead of pushing for taxpayer subsidized playgrounds for the wealthy like the concrete jungle planned for the waterfront?

read more »

April 5, 2009

The “Homeless” Blight: Sacrificing the Normal to the Abnormal

by lewwaters

Contributed by “idler”

An Oregon man lay unconscious, having suffered a serious head injury inflicted by a vagrant in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. Less than a month previously, another man received head injuries in a nearby location. How should one react to such an event? Torrid Joe, a blogger at the “progressive” site Loaded Orygun reacts by blaming the victim (he should have known better than to defend his property) and then advocating milder measures to deal with vagrants in Portland’s square of the same name:

why can’t we just enact [charitable provisions for vagrants] WITHOUT the sit-lie ordinance? Wouldn’t that be even better, to help them WITHOUT curtailing their liberties?

I’m reminded of the one about the two liberals who find a guy beaten within an inch of his life, lying on the side of the road. “We have to find who did this to him!” says the first. “Yes,” cries the second, “He needs help!”

For some decades now Americans have been browbeaten about the “plight” of the homeless, whose condition is adduced as a symptom of an inhumane social and economic system. The homeless were typically portrayed as ordinary people, down on their luck, forced by a cruel political order to lose the roof over their head. Eventually this myth was exposed: while there is no doubt that ordinary people do sometimes run into such trouble, the great majority of the homeless are alcoholics and other kinds of drug addicts, young runaways, deinstitutionalized psychiatric patients and assorted criminal and anti-social types. It seems reasonable to say that, with the exception of psychiatric patients who cannot be expected to help themselves, the supposed plight of the homeless is more like a blight on the society that they refuse to join as useful members.

The misplaced compassion extended to many homeless means that normal life is interrupted: vagrancy of all kinds are tolerated instead of being sanctioned, resulting in befouled public places, beggars at every exit ramp and menacing encounters with unpredictable characters. I have no objection to reaching out to such people in order to help them change their self-destructive ways. What I do object to is that the normal should be sacrificed to the abnormal, that the refusal of vagrants to behave according to the most basic standards should force responsible citizens to lower theirs.

But the deterioration of public decorum and hygiene is not the most serious aspect of the vagrant problem. Vagrants are often not merely self-destructive but also destructive to others. It seems safe to say that most of them, to the extent that one can generalize, are relatively harmless; but as a class they cannot be expected to act according to establish norms of behavior—by definition they reject such standards. Their conduct is mostly unpleasant, but often enough it is dangerous.

Last week presented the latest example of a vagrant seriously harming a person going about his business in the Pacific Northwest. A 25-year-old man on a visit to Seattle was accosted in Pioneer Square by a panhandler demanding money. When the visitor refused, the panhandler wrenched off a necklace the Oregon man was wearing; the victim then tried to get it back. Shortly thereafter, the visitor was discovered unconscious and bleeding by the Seattle police. He was hospitalized with a “serious head injury” according to a report in the Seattle Times.

The Seattle Times piece notes that a similar assault happened nearby in March, when a man refused to accede to a panhandler’s demands, “he was pushed to the ground and then punched in the back of the head.” That victim was briefly hospitalized but got away with “abrasions” and a “large lump on his head.” Others have not been so lucky. Here in Vancouver a 13-year-old girl, Alycia Nipp, was viciously murdered by a “homeless” man squatting in abandoned buildings north of 78th Street in the Hazel Dell neighborhood. Reports of the incident noted that this area is infested with squatters.

I have learned since that people of no fixed address, who render public areas essentially unusable to normal people and unsafe to traverse, similarly infest other parts of Vancouver. While discussing the barbaric murder of Alycia Nipp, a friend told me that he often cycles between work and home, crossing through a large public park on the way. He has had several encounters with the squatters who occupy the park, including one where he could not pass owing to a pack of dogs evidently owned by a woman residing in the park. He recalled struggling to get her attention, as she carelessly ignored her dogs’ activity.

My friend wonders what is to stop some anti-social denizens of the park from shoving a branch in his spokes and taking his bike, his wallet and, who know, his life. Given the unpredictable nature of vagrants, my friend’s concerns are by no means outlandish.