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Thread: the homeless and the ACLU

  1. #1
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    the homeless and the ACLU

    We moved to this state and city for its natural beauty. There are woods and trails everywhere. Unfortunately, just in the year we've been here, many are being populated by the homeless setting up camps, starting fires, pooping in the woods, doing drugs etc. It no longer feels safe to take a hike on these city trails and the trash they leave is unbelievable. When citizens try to band together to clean up the mess, it is all back again within weeks. If any attempts to enforce their illegal activities are made, the ACLU gets involved and says their rights are bing infringed upon. So nothing changes. I know this is a huge societal problem but wondering how to balance the issue. It does not seem just for those of us who pay taxes and follow the rules to have to tolerate lawlessness. Thoughts?

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Having lived with this issue for decades, there is no permenant fix.

    First of all, in your framing of the problem, you have to be politically correct and remove from your speech any coupling of “homeless” and “lawlessness.” Correct-think centers on the activities that are unacceptable and not the lack of permanent residence of the perpetrators. The central idea is that homelessness does not equal lawlessness.

    Ok, Now that you are educated, hahaha,....

    It is a never ending job for the cops, the social workers, the gubmnt officials to address these issues. It is permanent employment for them.

    In downtown St. Louis we were finally successful, after 35 years of fighting, to get a very large men’s shelter closed down. Yes the ACLU were active in watching and targeting all efforts to combat it and the management was savvy in parading homeless men out and about during extreme weather conditions to ring sttention. I dont even get mad at the people who create disturbances,
    I save my wrath for the do gooder feeding efforts by churches. They bring their vans in from nice safe suburbs, distribute food, and drive off to their nice safe suburban homes, leaving trash and mess for us here in the city.

    I have a little more patience and respect for the city chirches that offer food for anyone, not nexssarily homeless. I picked up two perfectly fine lunches in bags from the street a few weeks ago, tossed by recipients, distributed that day. We ate them.

    I have picked up a few items from the street that I still use, notably a bedspread —cotton! —that is currently on our bed. Street people are very casual with the doo gooder items given to them. All of those knitted blankets and carefully laundered coverlets and etc are here today, gone tomorrow with them.

  3. #3
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I have the greatest respect for the good the ACLU does, but the homelessness problem in major cities is way out of control.

    Seattle made some apartments available to homeless alcoholics, with the result that they cut their drinking by %25. I think it was cost-effective, considering what people "sleeping rough" incur.

    On the positive side, the population of substance abusers and mentally ill people camping in our cities does provide law enforcement with a good percentage of its business.

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    Perhaps the word homeless is no longer accurate. For most that I see, their "home" is a tent by choice. I get that if you can't/won't find work then you can't pay for a roof so you end up in a tent. It's a systemic issue but having to deal with feces and needles to get outdoors is just not right. We also have issues with said population committing petty crimes so there is that too. Breaking into cars, stealing...

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    I understand it is a country wide problem. I understand not all can get the help needed, that NOT everyone wants help. I feel for those that really do want and need help. Having said that.....

    My city of about 20,000 has a terrible homeless problem. It is in the paper weekly, three dead this year outside. Last week a poor soul who at once was someones beloved child, dead in the river. Paper stated Homeless man. This was new to me when I moved here 8 years ago It was all new to me.I remember thinking the fellow I saw with a back pack on my trail was a hiker or college student. I now know better. We have so many free food places and shelters and now the city pool is being turned into the winter shelter since the club house is not used and it is across the street from the YMCA where the free showers are. We had a homeless camp but that was shut. SO it spread out.

    We now have blessing booths scattered around the area and in the township along the rails to trails. This is far from the city, but since we have a re-cyce bike that gives bikes to those in needs I assume it is used, though I have only seen people pull up in cars and shop.

    OK I donate to the Men's shelter/clean house I have a spot in my heart for this, so I am not a cold person. Having said that and feel free to beat me with a noodle, The homeless is just getting bigger here. The help wanted signs are everywhere and as my husband knows first hand the positions can not be filled.

    My son said it best the other day that he has been down on his luck as he will say openly (during the addiction years) (6 years clean!!)He said if someone can ride a bike around town for 8 hours a day and collect bottles, beg in front of the grocery store, then go for free food, they are strong enough to work.

    I have almost lost my sympathy as my trail I ride, run, walk is full near the areas of the handouts. The Pool now shelter for winter I mentioned, is on the trail and I have stopped riding there as one Sunday I have to zig zag around one sleeping on trail, two sitting. This is not because my nose is in the air. It is safety!

    I do not have the answer. I just can not understand why it grows when the shelters and donations just grow.

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    We are having the same problem in our city. WE now live in town and it is affecting a park and down by our river. However, we do not have enough shelters and shelters are only a temporary solution. We need to build tiny housing communities and provide services to help people address their issues. Someone that is picking up bottles all day may have a mental illness that prevents them from being on time, take directions from a supervisor, etc. Not everyone knows how to be a worker and have issues that get in the way. MI people have issues getting along with others that make working difficult. On Nextdoor neighbor someone wrote a hateful email saying he forgot to lock his truck and lost $500 worth of tools. He is of course blaming the homeless and hopes they all freeze to death. IL: once the shelter was closed was anything provided in it's place? A local group here feeds them every Wed and has a ton of volunteers that cook a good meal at home and then bring it to them to serve. I have been there and people stay and eat and the volunteers mingle and talk to the homeless people which is good to start seeing them as people instead of problems. Nothing gets thrown away. Sometimes when we are downtown I bring half of my meal home and have had various people ask me for it because they are hungry. They are not asking for $. One day we were in a casino and I had my leftovers and a guy asked for them. He sat at a table next to us and we talked while he ate. He was hungry. He was in the casino to warm up as it was winter. I gave him some tips on how to go about getting services. One time while walking my dog in a park I met a young homeless guy and he was intelligent but down on his luck. He wanted a job so I gave him the address of a place that could help him. Just then my adult son came up as he was walking there too (it is a really big park) and he stayed until I left. Later he gave me hell for talking to a homeless guy. Ugh!

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkytoe View Post
    Perhaps the word homeless is no longer accurate. For most that I see, their "home" is a tent by choice.
    Yes, that's true for many. We have a friend who spent a long time homeless, but in fact he had his own "Matt Foley/Chris Farley" residence, in a tent "down by the river" (the Raritan River, in this case). There were several in this tent community. I asked him why they don't go to shelters, and he said that the homeless typically hate the shelters. Maybe because they have to abide by certain rules, maybe because theft is more rampant, maybe it's noisy and impersonal. I don't know.

    I have another friend who helps us with simple tasks now and then. He was just over helping my BIL move his stuff into a POD. He's homeless. We paid him for a couple of hours work. The next day his friend called us to say that he was in the hospital with a heart attack. My first thought was, OMG--he was lugging all that heavy furniture--it's all our fault!

    Wound up it was our fault, but not because he was having a heart attack from heavy lifting. He had taken the money we gave him, bought cocaine, and had coke-related reaction that sent him to the hospital. Not judging. I love the guy, but some people are their own worst enemies.

    But yes, if there are homeless people coking up in public areas, it makes it very hard on the citizens. I don't know the answer. I've often had an idea of fields of Japanese-style pods where the homeless could lock themselves in to their own little 8x4x4 space and they're happy, and the surrounding people are happy.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  8. #8
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    Yes, that's true for many. We have a friend who spent a long time homeless, but in fact he had his own "Matt Foley/Chris Farley" residence, in a tent "down by the river" (the Raritan River, in this case). There were several in this tent community. I asked him why they don't go to shelters, and he said that the homeless typically hate the shelters. Maybe because they have to abide by certain rules, maybe because theft is more rampant, maybe it's noisy and impersonal. I don't know.

    I have another friend who helps us with simple tasks now and then. He was just over helping my BIL move his stuff into a POD. He's homeless. We paid him for a couple of hours work. The next day his friend called us to say that he was in the hospital with a heart attack. My first thought was, OMG--he was lugging all that heavy furniture--it's all our fault!

    Wound up it was our fault, but not because he was having a heart attack from heavy lifting. He had taken the money we gave him, bought cocaine, and had coke-related reaction that sent him to the hospital. Not judging. I love the guy, but some people are their own worst enemies.

    But yes, if there are homeless people coking up in public areas, it makes it very hard on the citizens. I don't know the answer. I've often had an idea of fields of Japanese-style pods where the homeless could lock themselves in to their own little 8x4x4 space and they're happy, and the surrounding people are happy.
    Better yet, feed them unlimited supplies of drugs. Would be cheaper than what we now do.

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    I have heard from a number of employers both large and small that they cannot get workers who can pass a drug test. Big big issue. These are not high tech jobs but a clean drug test is still a requirement.

    I wish we made methadone or other drug treatment more easily available. But the NIMBY would not want the clinics around and they are needed in cities and in rural areas. We also need to stop restricting a doctor's ability to treat more than the small number they allow right now. I know it is because of the abusive clinics but surely careful electronic recordkeeping could help. There have been so many clinical trials showing it works. Not 100% but nothing is perfect.

    Note that here in IN a jail in NE Indiana had to treat 11 employees for fentanyl exposure in one incident and you just don't dose without symptoms. It is such a big problem. My husband even asked me why they did not use dogs more for fentanyl searching and I told him I thought it was just as dangerous to the dogs as well as the handlers.

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    Teacher Terry, Isn't recreational cannabis recently legal in Nevada? If so, you will probably get some of our transients heading west for warmer weather. I've always wondered if there is some sort of grapevine for these folks as they seem to congregate in certain places and not so much others.

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