How bad is homelessness where you live?

I am in the same city where I grew up (So Cal), and over the past several years or so, the homeless population has increased greatly. Here are a few examples:

*The city parks now have encampments, tents, shopping carts, garbage, syringes, etc., and far fewer kids at play.

*Homeless folks have blocked sidewalks in front of businesses

*A homeless guy started a fire this morning in a shopping cart, just behind the street where I live, in a more remote area of a parking lot.

*The police chief has reported the increasing costs of calls to the cops and the fire dept. due to incidents with homeless

*Residents have gone to the police with complaints and are told that the courts, churches, and ACLU are on the side of the homeless.

*Residents have gone to city council meetings about this and have heard some lip service from a couple of council members but have seen little to no action.

As for me, I get that many homeless people are harmless, that everyone needs a place to sleep, there are homeless families, etc. I do sympathize.

But here is the other side of it: Public drug use and drinking, starting fires, blocking businesses, and so on are not acceptable.
Would a halfway house of some kind be a good idea, or would it bring on more problems? Are there other solutions?

Have you had problems like this where you live? Any answers?

It has become an obviously bigger problem over the last few years where I live (Austin, TX) - large encampments under underpasses and in wooded areas, beggars at many intersections, strung-out people downtown, etc.

None. Zero. Nada.

You sleep outside around here, you freeze to death and then your carcass is eaten by coyotes.

We’re not quite that good, but the temperature in SLC is supposed to get down to 6° on the 31st and 8° on the 1st. That’s a pretty strong disincentive for the homeless to continue being homeless here.

ETA: that being said, there will be quite a few bums congregating around the Gateway mall in the warmer months.

I don’t know where they’ve gone now, but a homeless camp in my city recently started a fire under one edge of a bridge. the fire damaged bridge supports, and now it will take a LOT of money to repair the bridge. There’s a good mission shelter in town, but the folks who lived in that one area are the ones with problems, like drugs or alcohol, and the mission has behavior rules they won’t put up with. There was an abandoned church that people sheltered in, it was burned too.

That is all.

Blocking sidewalks? Taking over parks? Pffft.

Let me know when you have them taking out a section of a major freeway.

Tomorrow’s high where I live is expected to be somewhere around 10[sup]o[/sup]F, which tends to limit the homeless population. Although we do have a fairly large encampment on a local Native American reservation, and the problem there (besides the usual ones) is asphyxiation and fires. So it is kind of self-limiting.


There are benches all around the Hackensack River, added to accommodate the homeless who were sleeping there.

Bergen County took over a parcel of land nobody waned to build on because it was next door to the state maximum security prison, and built and now runs what has become a prototype of a good homeless shelter. I spent six weeks there this summer, and now realize that most homeless people are like I was: Good people in bad situations, sometimes not of their own making.

You don’t have to sleep outside to be considered homeless.

Getting worse in Portland all the time. And many of them are becoming more aggressive. Downtown business are angry about it, and some have closed their doors rather than have to deal with it. The camps are quite large in some areas, with the accompanying problems of sewage and trash. The city/county periodically forces the occupants to move on and then sends in crews to clean up the mess. There are efforts to build shelters and homes for these folks, but a lot of them would rather live on the streets or in makeshift camps.

The smallish city I live in spent nothing to deal with homelessness 6 years ago. The budget for 2019 to deal with homelessness is 10 million. About half of that is to repair the damage the homeless cause to city owned facilities and parks. The rest is to provide services to them. This does not include the costs the police department incurs dealing with them.

Begging in downtown Richmond has gotten worse over the past 10 years. I’m loathed to call the guys “panhandlers” because of the negative connotation of that word and because sometimes they are just sitting or standing there, not overtly asking for money.

They also seem to be more diverse than they used to be. Every morning I pass by a church that offers a day shelter for the homeless. There’s always a long line of folks waiting for the doors to open. In the past, the line would be overwhelmingly black and male. But now 'd say it’s pretty 55:45 black and white and about 30-40% women. Lots of old people in that line, too.

No apparent change in the suburb where I live. But I was stricken by the prevalence during a recent trip to Denver. Spoke w/ a long-time resident, and she said it was the 1st time in 50 years that she had felt uncomfortable walking downtown.

The existence of homelessness/tent cities/refugee camps in first-world countries is pretty cray. It is arguably good that people feel uncomfortable.

Getting much worse in Los Angeles. There seems to be an organization providing them with tents, which makes the homeless more comfortable and secure, but arguably is a slight disincentive to get off the street.

It is an abomination that in this country we are willing to allow our fellow citizens to live this way. The other day I saw ten cops rousting a guy from under an overpass and throwing everything he owned into a garbage truck. How is that solving the problem? How about letting the cops enforce the law and spending that money helping people get on their feet?

It makes sense from the cops’ point of view: do nothing and let the shantytown grow to a critical mass, and they won’t be able to get near it without an armoured personnel carrier.

No answers but it is a problem. A few of the camps are basically on/under highways and the number of unintentional and intentional deaths is high.

I volunteer now and then at a couple shelters and have done work with the homeless through the church. Percentages vary but some are there (on the street) by choice; they simply will not move into a shelter or accept a hand up even when its offered. With some its because of drugs or mental illness and with one or two its simply their way of “dropping out”. But the only way to solve it would be by force; to basically return to the old “state hospital” or “work farm” systems. And I doubt that many of us would want to see that happen. So we do what we can as best we can and hope.

Because most of the chronically homeless are schizophrenic, substance abusers, or both, and money doesn’t fix that.

Most of the time, homeless people do get back on their feet. The rest of the time, it’s not because nobody tried to help them.


I was going to reply, but then I read the OP and realized that you aren’t talking about homelessness as a problem-you were talking about the homeless themselves being the problem.