This post on homelessness and libraries is more about a movie and actors than about the problem. Banks make young families homeless. Drugs make people homeless. Mental illness majorly makes people homeless. Bad choices also make people homeless.
How it happens is sometimes preventable, what to do about it right now is what we should be acting upon. Using libraries is fine, until you try to use a restroom trashed by a mentally ill person, or worse inadvertently encounter one with his hygiene products spread across three sinks and aggressively defending his territory. “Tiny house” communities with common hygiene areas could help relieve the community stress BUT local building safety codes are an extreme roadblock.
Variability in public perception, individual tolerance, and benevolence creates arguments instead of discussions.
Cities “solve” the problem by arresting people who look homeless, making it illegal to sleep in your car, and putting spikes on benches or ground areas used for sleeping so homeless are less inclined to be there.
The real problem is ignorance and political correctness instead of practical solutions. Talking instead of solving.
I think we are old enough to think of a way to solve this problem.
When the asylums closed people who could not care for themselves but were not clearly dangerous to others were turned out onto the streets. When banks foreclose on young families they become homeless and the community must pick up the financial costs so the banksters can pocket more quick profits. Disasters happen and people have no emergency funds and no financial literacy so they cannot recover.
We are old enough to think of a way to solve these problems.
We can provide some kind of safe living for those who can take some care of themselves – call it “tiny houses” or whatever. We can add the homestead to the State bankruptcy list so foreclosures mostly stop happening. We can require and provide effective Financial Literacy course completion as a prerequisite for receipt of ANY kind of financial social support, and require functional financial literacy be taught in all of our schools.
In Fort Wayne a fourth of our land – most of the SE side – is an open disaster that needs to be leveled and rebuilt from scratch – we can put housing there and institutions to house for those who cannot take care of themselves. And it can be funded by capitalists with a proper incentive.
And far more importantly we can require unoccupied people to WORK. Everyone can do SOMETHING. Henry Ford wrote:
There are cases where I imagine that the support must be by charity–as, for instance, an idiot. But those cases are extraordinarily rare, and we have found it possible, among the great number of different tasks that must be performed somewhere in the company, to find an opening for almost any one and on the basis of production.
I believe that there is very little occasion for charity in this world–that is, charity in the sense of making gifts. Most certainly business and charity cannot be combined; the purpose of a factory is to produce, and it ill serves the community in general unless it does produce to the utmost of its capacity. We are too ready to assume without investigation that the full possession of faculties is a condition requisite to the best performance of all jobs.
But we need a law the requires everyone to work, and then we need truant officers who tap each non-working person and take him/her to a job.
There are ALWAYS jobs to be done.
Those who cannot find a job on their own (there are a few 1,000 jobs available right now in Fort Wayne) need to be picked up and taken to a job made just for them – cleaning restrooms, washing chairs, sweeping the street, picking up trash, cleaning areas deprecated by unoccupied people – anything. And after they are done working on that assigned job (without monetary pay over and above the value of the free public services they are already taking) that day there needs to be job TRAINING. Inspiring people TO WORK and then showing them THEY CAN WORK and be happier than they are now, and finally HELPING THEM LEARN THE REQUIRED SKILLS to get a real job that pays real living wages so they can take care of their own family.
And through this all there needs be be an attitude of encouragement not punishment!
Libraries could play a major role, as does WorkOne, Adult Life Training, Inc., and probably several other places. Positive experiences, helping or when necessary forcing people to change.
And as long as all we do is talk, it ain’t gonna happen.
I would welcome the opportunity to lead a group with funding and focus to organize this effort. We can solve most of the homelessness proper immediately. The long term solution will require a little more time for people to educate and find their place.
But we can do this. We are old enough to solve these problems ourselves now. If you don’t believe me, test me and see. It is a matter of all of us working together – we know how to do this.