The Homeless in Atlanta: A Reflection on controversy

Sometimes it is. Sometimes they choose to be scary and annoying because it’s too much work to fit into society in a normal way.

In the particular case in the OP, I think GDOT was within their rights and responsibilities. They might have done it differently, but the results would have to have been pretty much the same - the homeless would have been forced to go somewhere else. It is outside GDOT’s responsibility to actually find them someplace else to be.

In San Francisco we have a large homeless population (and a large homeless problem) and we also have very vocal homeless advocates. None of the advocacy and none of the alternative hardline approaches from the city government seem to make any difference. We get tsk-ing letters to the editor from visitors who ask how we can let these people deface our beautiful city like that. As if we have any choice. i’m lucky that they don’t infest my neighborhood, because I live in an area with very little foot traffic (and therefore few prospects for panhandling).

I’m just going to stand up and say that there is no solution to the homeless problem. If there were a good way to find the 1/3 who could benefit from help, that would be great. I’m all for helping people who can and will benefit from it. But I’m sick of throwing money at people who’ll take it, laugh and then spit in your eye for your trouble. If they’re mentally ill, we can no longer force them to accept treatment. If they’re addicted, we can’t force them to stick to rehab disciplines. We can tolerate them being around or we can be angry at having them around, and that seems to be our only choice.

Good post. And, I’d even be willing to lend support to the 1/3 who are homeless by choice, but otherwise can fit into society- give them a area to live in or shelters during winter.

But once you allow a camp- then the socially unfit 1/3 can & do move in also. The ones that will shit anywhere.

Do you want them to live in your backyard?

The escalators at the Civic Center BART station in San Francisco keep malfunctioning because they’re getting clogged with human feces from homeless people shitting on them. :eek:

Do you want them all to die?

Because if not, they have to live somewhere. I don’t care where. Just let them have a spot.

That’s easy for you to say. I believe the point **DrDeth **was trying to make is that every “somewhere” is an actual place that has an impact on the people who live and work there. If you aren’t willing to host homeless people in front of your house, your post rings a little hollow.

Then make a “homeless park” or something, just for them. It could be an empty lot somewhere, with some port-a-johns perhaps. Certainly, our taxes have paid for more frivolous things.

For those with no memory of the events:

There was a time when “homeless” was regard as an emergency to be dealt with immediately, as in “before sundown”. If a fire destroyed an apartment building, either family would take in the displaced, or Red Cross would hand out vouchers for a motel room.

There have always been “hobos” - almost always men who preferred to travel and get a sandwich by cleaning out an old lady’s basement for her, or some such. They were found around the rails.

Until the Reagan presidency, the US Federal government paid for the care of the indigent at “insane asylums” or “state hospitals”. Reagan cut funding the institutions (he preferred to spend the money restoring the Iowa-Class battleships of WWII (yes, really - for a couple of years in the 80’s the US actually had battleships - crew of 5,000 max range of the guns: 28 miles).

That was the original core of the modern homeless.

In SF, Golden Gate park became a popular campground - look it up - there is heavy foliage well away from beaten paths.
At first there was concern - I remember a truckload of sleeping bags being passed out. A week later, there were a lot of new sleeping bags in pawn shops and surplus stores. Those who wanted to keep theirs were relieved of them by somebody bigger.

By the mid-80’s, the papers were full of “Donor Fatigue” stories - how the shear numbers of the homeless made people despair of ever finding a “solution”.

Then comes Bush I and his “Thousand Points of Light” - churches and social organizations can handle the homeless, we need to spend Federal money on Defense.

By the time the Dems got control, the numbers had mushroomed and Clinton didn’t do much more than his predecessors.

We have lots of abandoned military bases with all kinds of buildings sitting vacant; the housing bubble has opened 1000’s of homes.

The ones who can’t be trusted in a social environment can have a hangar with the door removed - it is better than no shelter. glue down foam mattresses and remove anything of value. The old buildings may still have steel pipes - no salvage value, and damned hard to remove.
Barracks can be divided into apartments for families. Office buildings for the social programs.

When the school buses are done in the morning, they can swing by and give rides to anybody who is clean and polite into town. Reverse for evening. You’ll need another run at 22:00.
You miss it, you’ree on your own for the night.

On the subject of the homeless who are incapable of living in polite society and will just trash any shelter they’re given, etc, I’m not sure how true that is. Here in Seattle we have a complex that was built for some of the most hopeless cases, the homeless severe alcoholics who were costing the city the most money due to medical care, law enforcement, etc. Like this was a list of individuals, not just a broad category that some people were tossed into.

They built this place for them in 2005. Even though there’s a lot more staff than would typically be found in an apartment complex, it’s still ended up saying a lot of money. The residents continue to abuse alcohol but they drink significantly less than they had been, even though they’re allowed to drink however much they want. I haven’t heard anything about them looting the place for beer money or defecating on the floors or anything.

I thought a major part of the problem came not from only conservatives who cut funding, but mostly from liberals who advocated civil rights for the mentally incompetent. This resulted in unlocking the doors of the instititutions, and releasing a flood of homeless onto the streets.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Can anybody give me an accurate account?

Indeed, at least in CA they used to lock you up for life if you were crazy but harmless.

It’s sad that these people were set loose in one way, but here in the USA, you have the right to be crazy, too, as long as you aren;t hurting anyone.

By default, those who get kicked out of shelters for whatever reason are incapable of living in a polite society. Think of it as multi-tier’d homelessness. The truly homeless are living under a bridge. The sheltered versions… are not.

The concern was for those who didn’t need to be locked up - not “all”; the rules for incarnation were considered overly broad and there should be a means for a patient to challenge and win.

I remember nobody advocating “opening the doors for all”.

This was CA

No. Getting kicked out of a shelter does not mean “unable to live in polite society”. Those who are incapable WILL get kicked out, but not all that kicked out are incapable.

Smokers, for instance, are going to have a bitch going cold turkey from 22:00 until whenever the doors open. We don’t even need to mention the non-alcoholic who needs a “nightcap” to sleep. People on anti-seizure meds may run into some “zero-tolerance for all drugs” crap.
Hell, I use morphine for pain - suppose I’d be welcome?

There is a difference between those who can’t adjust to the shelter rules and those who fight with anyone who tries to tell them what to do or tears out the copper (and those two are very different).

The only thing these have in common is lack of shelter.

Some have income (10 hours a week at a big box doesn’t pay rent) and pay for storage of personal property. When I moved, I kept stuff at a U-store place - there were homeless using the facility.

But in the situation I’m talking about, that’s not true. They were listed BY NAME on a short list of this city of 600,000’s most costly homeless people. These people were considered very nearly beyond help. They WERE kicked out of shelters and group homes. They had all tried and failed at chemical dependency treatment multiple times. They preferred homelessness to sobriety, they WERE living under bridges, and their lifestyle was costing the city millions of dollars. Granted, they are not now what would reasonably be considered “contributing” members of society (right now…quite a few are vets, and were probably contributing at some point), but the housing program is better for their health, saves taxpayer money, AND keeps problematic homeless individuals off the streets. I really don’t see a drawback.

I guess we’re just going to have to disagree. If a person living on the street insists on smoking in a shelter or whatever other stupid activity that gets them kicked out then IMO they don’t have ability to live in polite society.

Just for kicks and giggles:

!Poof! - YOU are now homeless. Have any bad habits? No shelter for you.

Look into the regs for shelters - by comparison, the “mission”, where you need to listen to a sermon and then profess your undying love of Jesus to get a bowl of soup, is tolerant.
The people who make the rules tend to be regular busybodies acting like they are dealing with small children who can be regimented.

There was a bridge built with box beams - pre-cast concrete tubes 6’x6’. Someone had chopped an inspection hole in one and left it open. Climbing into the beam put you in an enclosed, dry place (the road noise had to be incredible).
They were out of sight, not bothering anyone. The bridge was part of a maze - there wasn’t enough room among the roads for anything to be built. It was only because the DOT sent somebody to check the bridge that they were found. Guess what happened?

Well, yeah, there’s a very good chance that many of these people (the very difficult cases) will never be able to live in their own normal home and be responsible for themselves. But unless you want to kill them for that (and I’m sure you don’t) they have to live somewhere and it does seem that in many cases, there is a MUCH better option for everyone involved than just having them live on the street if they can’t/won’t stop the behavior that gets them kicked out of shelters, and then periodically kicking them out of wherever they have currently set up camp.

Both sides of this question treat it as a matter of morality.

One side thinks Humans should be treated humanely. (Come on! That sort of sentimental tripe might sway the gullible in Europe or Asia, but not here in the Land of the Free™ and the Home of the Brave™.)

The other side thinks People too deranged or lazy to dig a latrine don’t deserve access to a toilet. When pressed, these people will point out that their Uncle came from Romania with only $5000 and a High School diploma and built Wingnuts.Com with his own bare hands. If Uncle could become a millionaire in the Land of the Free™, so can imbeciles and lunatics. To steal caviar from the rich just to buy bread for the homeless goes against every moral precept taught in the Libertarian Parodies on YouTube.

In the 70’s and 80’s many of the homeless were Vietnam vets mistreated after serving their country. How are Iraq and Afghanistan vets holding up?

Enjoying cigarettes is a bad habit. Smoking them in the shelter against the rules is a willful controllable act. No soup for you. The inability to handle the same restrictions everybody else lives under is pretty much the definition of not being able to live in a polite society. These are the chronic homeless who can’t hold down a job because of self-control issues.


They were evicted. What’s your point? There are no squatter rights with state land.