Recently we did a on-air segment with State Representative Jesse Petrea who has been working to get a place for our homeless population a better place to stay. Some folks got the wrong impression thinking he was talking about running them out of town on a rail or tar-and-feathering them and then running 'em out of town on a rail. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. He wants to move them to a better place where, (a) they wouldn't be trespassing; (b) they would have a much safer environment; (c) they would have running water, power and toilet facilities. That's called "caring" instead of bringing them a grocery cart, trash can and renting a portable toilet. Having a group of homeless squatters on public land without all of the above is only exacerbating the problem and bad for us all from a health standpoint that shouldn't need explaining. Ignoring the problem makes no more sense than if you began getting symptoms of cancer and thinking that if you don't go to a doctor you'll get better. If it's the real thing, it'll get only worse. In the case of homelessness, however, we have not ignored it, we've embraced it!
It seems hard to believe that in the name of "compassion" we have allowed homelessness to burgeon to the point where in some major cities it is totally out of control. New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle are the top three cities for rampant homelessness. Here in Savannah we have no less than 22 homeless camps that we know of and that number is down after some consolidation. Today, what passes for "caring" is to embrace the problem instead of fighting to eradicate it. We have homeless "advocates" and tonight (as I write this) the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless holding a forum on our homeless camps and FINALLY, "What is the solution?" The address, if you read this in time to go, is at 761 Wheaton Street, Room 1009B 5-to-7. They would like a head count so RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (912) 790-3400. So we have a "homeless authority" and one would presume other cities do as well.
Look where those "caring" individuals and groups have gotten us. Fewer homeless and/or homeless camps? It's out of control because we've made it easy to exist. It's not a new concept to get rid of homelessness; ol' Ben Franklin said nearly 300 years ago that you fight problems like this by making people "uncomfortable in their poverty." You don't let it run rampant and institute government programs and tax the working and productive members of society to take care of the freeloaders. Fortunately many of these so-called agencies are self-sustaining and not necessarily a burden on the taxpayers. But think of not only the sanitation issue that could spread disease to those of us with homes, but there is a criminal element too. Many motorists here have said that they don't stop at traffic lights at President and the Truman Parkway late at night for fear of being approached or attacked by a member of the homeless community living there.
In Sunday's Savannah Morning News the story above-the-fold on the front page by Jan Skutch noted that last year 4,198 homeless individuals were served by authority agencies last year. I don't know about you but I think that's a HUGE number. Cindy Murphy Kelley, the executive director of the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless says they're also "dealing with mental health and/or substance abuse issues, don't carry insurance, are likely to use hospital emergency room for health care or have been in jail." So she's now trying to raise $1.7 million in the Tiny House project (very small houses that rent for about $230/month) targeting homeless veterans and last year there were 271 of them. This also takes up lots and lots of police time and Kelley admits to being "chewed out" by a recent meeting with police officers and admitted, "The frustration level with our homeless community was very high....it was the first time I've met with officers where I left feeling pretty bad about their frustrations and about their inability to solve the issue."
Representative Petrea told us that he has been offering as much help as he could from the Georgia legislature but city and county officials has practically ignored him in the four years he's held office. He includes all the agencies here too that have never picked up a phone to call him for help from the legislature in four years! That's beyond pathetic. And the citizens in those three major cities are getting fed up since they have the homeless problem on steroids. In San Francisco homeless are simply using city streets for their bathroom and Seattle's problem has grown to such an out-of-hand issue that the left wing cretins that run city government to come up with a tax (kinda like a "fire fee") hitting big corporations with a $500/employee assessment to pay for homelessness. We're talking about Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks, and Microsoft just to name a few. But that seems to have been the last straw. Even the lefties who run Amazon and Starbucks have balked and explained to these free-enterprise-brain-dead council idiots that this would cause more unemployment and more homelessness! Seattle city council had an instant "coming to Jesus" moment and withdrew the proposal.
What's the old saying, "If you sleep with dogs, you'll wake up with fleas?" Likewise, if you embrace the homeless problem solving it isn't a possibility and CANNOT be the goal.