I’ve written about the ‘homeless’ so often that I wonder why it is still an issue that grates on me.
The problem is that I’ve never found a way to talk about it. Whatever I say, falls on deaf ears.
I created a park on 6th Street in San Francisco variously called Wino Park and Drunk Park. The park had all the amenities that the street people, mostly black, wanted. Benches to sleep on, a basketball hoop, a grassy area, two clean chemical toilets and safety. The park was built in 1979 and lasted until 1983.
The term ‘homeless’ appeared before the park closed. The term migrated from New York. It has ever since been applied to street people, our urban hobos. Housing is not an issue. The number of street people in 1980 is the same in San Francisco today as it was then. Roughly 6,000. In the meantime nearly 12,000 people have been given free housing. But the number on the street remains the same.
San Francisco now spends close to $100,000 per street person per year on medical, ambulance and social services. Nothing changes over 35 years.
Yet I find people around me constantly bemoaning the inability to the City government to ‘do something’. Everyone of them is an expert on the subject. The Democrat view that the government can solve all social problems is never phased by this never ending problem.
I’ve worked on many social issues from mental illness, to family poverty to adult mental disability. Our society does a wonderful job in handling all these cases of the truly needy. But our society gets no credit for fixing what can be fixed.
We can’t fix alcoholism and we can’t fix a group of people who like drugs and don’t want to work.
People who like living on the streets.
There, I got it off my chest, again.