Have We Given Up on Solving Homelessness?
I am one of the biggest homeless Civil Rights guys in the country, but this news out of Nashville seems like a sign of surrender. The Wall Street Journal brings news that the some cities are allowing tent cities to grow. I don't want law enforcement to crack down on homeless people, but I certainly don't want Mayors to tolerate the development of substandard living conditions. This is what I see happened with shelters in Cleveland. We started putting shelters in temporary locations with the thought that they would close when the crisis was over. Then in the late 1990s and into the beginning of this decade, we made the large shelters into permanent structures. It was a sign that the City had accepted that we will never end homelessness.
Now, we are accepting tents as an alternative to shelter. So, we given up the thought that everyone living in the richest country on the planet should have a roof. We have even given up the ghost that we can provide a shelter bed to everyone in need. It should be the highest priority of every city government to draw a line in the sand that we do not cross. It should be a sign of failure of local government to tolerate tent cities. Tents are cheap, and they can keep people alive, but should we create a neighborhood of tents? How about we tolerate a tent city only if the Mayor, the police chief, the head of the Chamber of Commerce, and the CEO of health insurance company were all forced to live there. I am sure if we forced elected and business leaders to see what it is like to live in a tent for an extended period of time, all of these individuals would have some kind of housing quickly.
Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.