Homelessness in our county is a horrible social ill that devastates lives. But homelessness is only a symptom of deeper socio-economic maladies.
Yes, some of the homeless are alcoholics, drug addicts, mentally ill or a combination. Some are just rebellious youths trying to live a life “outside the system.” But many are injured, traumatized veterans, foreclosed-upon-ex-homeowners (thanks to the “bankster”-caused financial meltdown), long-term unemployed (thanks again, bankers and other corporate criminals) or those too young or too old to work who can’t qualify for enough or any adequate benefits.
Add to all this, the reality of gouging rents in this town, no rent control and the lack of enough well-paying and full-time jobs and you get a picture that pretty much guarantees widespread poverty and resulting homelessness.
No doubt it’s better here than in places like, say, Detroit, but we shouldn’t fool ourselves that we really are “the happiest city in America” to all levels or to even most levels of the people here.
All of the 10-year county plans to end homelessness in the world will fail without seeing and acting on the whole picture, including ending police harassment of the homeless.