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A Progressive Solution To Homelessness

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posted on Aug, 8 2006 @ 06:28 PM
It used to be that practically every town and city in the United States had laws against "vagrancy." That usually took care of the immediate problem, as the police would either toss the homeless into jail for a while, or escort them to the city limits, smack them upside the head and tell them to not let the sun set on them in that town. I guess somewhere along the line somebody found that there was nothing in the Constitution that said a person had to have money to have civil rights. So most of those laws became pretty much unenforceable.

"Homelessness" comes and goes in cycles in the U.S. During the Depression there were a lot of guys wandering around looking for work. Read "The Grapes of Wrath." After WWII, there were a lot of guys just out of the military and not quite ready to settle down. Then the hippies came along with their stupid attitude of "you can't tell me what to do, man!"

I do like the idea of camps, particularly for drug addicts, but I don't like the idea of spending a ton of money to keep them running. So the two basic problems are civil rights and cost. But I think I have a solution for both of those problems.

The solution to the civil rights problem is to make them voluntary. And how would you entice these wandering drifters to get on the bus and into camp? Just offer them all the drugs and alcohol they could ever want, along with three hots and a cot, for free. And I mean all the drugs, including heroin, crack, morphine, whatever. All administered by trained medical professionals, who will also monitor your health to keep you from overdosing. The only catch would be that if you signed up for the camp, you couldn't leave unless you stayed clean for a certain length of time, like 3 months. If you can stay clean in a place where the drugs are free, then the chances are pretty good you wouldn't indulge once you got out. And if you did, back you'd go. It sure would knock the profit potential out of the drug business.

As for the costs, I figure we could do the same thing with it that we do with all of our growth industries -- outsource it. Set up about a dozen nice camps in various parts of the world (like Siberia) that have a lot of open space and a need for American cash. They could probably feed and house these dudes for pennies on the dollar. And there wouldn't be any of the "NIMBY" nonsense, either.

The idea to keep in mind that the camps aren't intended to be "punishment," but just a simple expedient to get the people out of society who would rather get high or drunk than not.

They get what they want, we get what we want. It's a "win-win" situation.

posted on Aug, 9 2006 @ 08:29 PM

Originally posted by Enkidu
The only catch would be that if you signed up for the camp, you couldn't leave unless you stayed clean for a certain length of time, like 3 months.

This may be the only catch, but it's a big catch and the perfect excuse for the ACLU to enter into one of their classic blackmail lawsuits. Essentially, what you are suggesting is a voluntary prison and all the problems prisons have with their populations, these camps would have with theirs. It's a good thought, though.

posted on Aug, 11 2006 @ 02:17 PM
It is nice that people are socially conscious and want to help others, but it's important to be able to understand when a problem is beyond the reach of mere money so that we can ask ourselves if we are prepared to really go the distance or if we might need to concede to the reality that the world will never be an ideal place to live.

Healthy people don't stay homeless except by choice. People who can't get out are either mentally ill, on drugs, or perhaps in a few cases severely physically impaired and for whatever reason unable to recieve help.

Anyone can go to even the most meagerly funded shelter to keep himself safe and clean, find himself a minimum wage job (or two), and in 3 months or less have a modest roof over his head and even a car.

And you don't even have to stop there. At that point, enterprising people decide what they want to do and find a way into it.

You choose a trade, pick a union to apprentice in, and go use a computer at the library to find out where the works hot, then you sock back cash as best you can for the move and get yourself a greyhound ticket.
Or you take classes at a junior college... Even if you could only spare a mere 6 hours a week for study and you weren't a good enough student to pick up credit by examination you could earn a certificate, AA, or AS in 4 years tops, which gives you better employment options and hopefully gives you the wages to free up some of your time and pursue other things.

Life is not easy, but it is by no means unmanagable. Thats not the problem and so I doubt work camps are the sollution. If we determine that we must solve the problem of homelessness, then we have to take on the underlying causes of those stubborn cases that homeless shelters aren't fixing.

1. Mental Illness. We can pay for care for the mentally ill, or we can pay the price of having them on our streets. Thats a choice we've got to make, end of story. Mental illness is something that could happen to any of us- either we were lucky enough to be born normal or we weren't, and either we've been under enough stress that we snapped or we haven't (obviously excluding mental illness secondary to drugs/alcohol). It's one of those menacing risks that we all share and when it happens it had an effect beyond the individual who it happens to. We probably should have a program to care for these people, if not entirely for their own sake then for that of society. I recall once getting into a fight with an irate bum in McDonalds because he burst into a screaming fit and stormed up on my pastor just for praying before a meal in public. That kind of stuff is an issue of the public good and needs to be dealt with in an effective and humane manner.

2. Drug abuse. You can't get everyone off the streets unless you get them off of drugs. Drugs will trump anything else. If they can do drugs or do their job to earn a nice life for themselves, they'll choose drugs. If they can pay for drugs or pay for food, they'll pay for drugs.

Truth be told though, I don't generally believe in the duty of society to assume responsibility over the individual or to regulate him. I think drugs should probably be legal, and if you screw yourself up, we leave you where you fall to rot. It's not because I hate people and want to see people go through the misery that I have seen several family members go through thanks to meth, it's that I think John Stuart Mill was right: letting people do the wrong thing keeps everyone mindful that it is wrong and why the right thing is right. If you clean up every drug addict, tell him its' not his fault, and send him skipping along on his way good as new, #1 he will probably go right back and #2 there will be no deterent to doing drugs.

I think that school bus routes should be carefully planned to ensure that children get to see a crackhead lying dead in the gutter every morning, because in 18 years there won't be anymore crack users then.

Take care of that, then if we've still got homeless people we can talk about work camps.

posted on Aug, 19 2006 @ 01:33 AM
Why doesn't the government just declare homeless people to be a minority group and give them money to ease thier suffering, like all the other minority groups?

posted on Aug, 19 2006 @ 02:38 AM

it sounds like communist enabling to me.

posted on Aug, 19 2006 @ 03:25 AM

Originally posted by toasted

it sounds like communist enabling to me.

Well communism is'nt a really bad thing bad thing.
The reason we see it as bad is because of Mcarthy's badmouthing,
and Russia/China/Cuba which have never been communist countries,
rather they started with the basics of it and twisted it to near

Russia started off with basic communist beliefs, but quickly turned into a
Lenninist country.

China was a Lenninist/Maoist country, and even know it still has alot of
Lennisnist ways, though it is capitalist.

Cuba is, Well, Cuba is Cuba.

There's never been a true Communist country.
And, with the mindset humanities had for as long as history has been
recorded, Communism would never work unless the majority of the
population has the rught mindset/psychology.

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