Sunday, October 18, 2009

Homelessness in Sacramento

This column from the Sacramento Bee about the underlying politics of homelessness in Sacramento is merely saying what everyone who has been following this issue already knows; that as long as the only services provided to the homeless are domestic enabling services rather than personal reformation services—tough love—the situation will remain as it is described here.

An excerpt.

“Together with Mayor Kevin Johnson and others in the faith and charity communities, they paint quite a picture: A Catholic nun and some very affluent people advocating for homeless folks to remain in squalor – preferably next to other poor people and a safe distance from Sacramento's well-heeled neighborhoods.

“It's not that these voices shouldn't be heard. They just shouldn't be the dominant voices. It's time for their 15 minutes to be up. Winter is upon us – the first storm came and went – and Sacramento wasted this year on a tent city proposal that has no support outside a small group of advocates.

“Meanwhile, the county eliminated many of its services for the poor. And to great fanfare, Loaves & Fishes keeps preaching a handout as opposed to a hand up. They enable destructive behavior and invite others to donate money and goods to this cause.

“How about another approach?

“Sacramento is a compassionate and sensible community. It's compassionate to want to help everyone needing shelter. It's sensible to conclude that local government can't help everyone. Any effort should require people to follow rules, stay clean and sober and stay out of trouble.”