Homelessness: Should we Help?

  1. what is your opinion on homelessness? is it the government's duty to handle the problem? or not?

    thoughts, please.
    here's the story:


    officers destroy tents; mayor backs melee

    http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/myfox/p...y&pageid=1.1.1

    police officers with box cutters showed up where st. pete's tent city residents had moved to and set up. they slashed their tents to the ground as residents watched in shock. now one homeless group is moving to label st. petersburg as the 'meanest city in the nation.'
    Last edit by UM Review RN on Jan 20, '07
    •  
  2. Poll: Homelessness: Should We Help?

    • Yes, it is the government’s duty. Build more homeless shelters!

      28.13% 9
    • Yes, it is OUR duty, and I contribute privately to help the homeless.

      43.75% 14
    • Yes, it is our duty, but paying my taxes should be sufficient help.

      9.38% 3
    • No, it is not our OR government’s duty. Homeless, pull yourselves up by the bootstraps.

      6.25% 2
    • Homeless people WANT to be homeless. I say leave ‘em alone.

      3.13% 1
    • The homeless are unsightly, unsanitary, criminals. The police were right.

      0% 0
    • I don’t know what to think. I’m just glad it’s not me or someone I know.

      12.50% 4
    • Other –please explain.

      15.63% 5
    32 Votes / Multiple Choice
  3. 36 Comments

  4. by   Roy Fokker
    My opinion(s) :

    1. Should we help our fellow man? Yes. Absolutely.

    2. Should the government do it? No. The function of just government is the protection of liberty and property. Period. Not building bridges, helping the poor, changing foreign governments etc. Welfare simply creates a class of people dependent on the government - not themselves - for sustenance. I firmly believe in "teaching a man to fish", rather than "giving a man fish for a day".

    3. Americans are some of the most generous people in the world - private charity runs to the tune of billions of dollars every year. Anything the government can do, the free market does better (and cheaper too!)

    4. Taxation is theft. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is neither just, nor moral. The fruit of immoral actions can not be moral.

    5. As "cruel" and "harsh" as this may sound - there are some who just don't deserve our support. Those who are able to work, and refuse the opportunity, should not expect society's support.

    My $4.06 ( adjusted for monetary inflation),
    Roy
  5. by   UM Review RN
    5. As "cruel" and "harsh" as this may sound - there are some who just don't deserve our support. Those who are able to work, and refuse the opportunity, should not expect society's support.
    Who exactly determines this able-bodiedness/able mindedness? Who runs society but government? Where exactly does society get funding and resources, but from government?

    I fully understand and appreciate the concept of "less is more" regarding government's involvement in our day-to-day affairs. I just don't understand how this is supposed to happen without some sort of bureaucracy.

    Could you please elaborate?
  6. by   pickledpepperRN
    Earlier this week, homeless residents were told they were okay to set up their tents at that location.
    I went to Bible camp on a Five Civilized Tribes reservation and almot understand the frustration of people having to live in an ownership society.
    Their ancestors did not believe we could own property. The land all all Gods creation was not to be the "property" of men.

    Please someone explain how our hugh population in this world can make it without communal services like roads and traffic laws, electricity, fire fighters, EMS and such.
  7. by   pickledpepperRN
    I met a woman who was laid off her job cleaning bathrooms and other buildings in public parks.
    When her unemployment ran out she applied for welfare for her children.
    The welfare to work program put her to work cleaning the bathrooms in public parks for a welfare check, food stamps, and Medicaid.

    My grandparents, like most Americans of that time raised families during the Great Depression. Moms family traveled for work living in tents. "We was Okies"
    The "New Deal" had many components:
    http://www.bergen.org/AAST/projects/...successes.html
  8. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from Roy Fokker
    My opinion(s) :

    1. Should we help our fellow man? Yes. Absolutely.

    2. Should the government do it? No. The function of just government is the protection of liberty and property. Period. Not building bridges, helping the poor, changing foreign governments etc. Welfare simply creates a class of people dependent on the government - not themselves - for sustenance. I firmly believe in "teaching a man to fish", rather than "giving a man fish for a day".

    3. Americans are some of the most generous people in the world - private charity runs to the tune of billions of dollars every year. Anything the government can do, the free market does better (and cheaper too!)

    4. Taxation is theft. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is neither just, nor moral. The fruit of immoral actions can not be moral.

    5. As "cruel" and "harsh" as this may sound - there are some who just don't deserve our support. Those who are able to work, and refuse the opportunity, should not expect society's support.

    My $4.06 ( adjusted for monetary inflation),
    Roy
    :yeahthat::bowingpur

    I was wondering how I was going to say what I wanted to say w/o sounding "mean" but you did it for me! Thanks!

    steph
  9. by   mercyteapot
    Over the past 10 years, we in California have seen a nearly obscene escalation in property prices. Many working families have been evicted from homes that they were renting so that the owners could sell them. Lots of relatively affordable housing complexes have been sold to condo developers. If not for the benevolence of church funds or private and government grants to social service agencies, many of these families couldn't have pulled together the first and last month's rent to get into new housing. How would society benefit by forcing these people to be homeless? Where are these bootstraps by which they are intended to pull themselves up?

    What about families that flee abusive situations? Living on the street would just mean leaving one dangerous situation for another.

    And since when do we have no obligation to help people who are struggling with mental illness, which, IMHO, is the only reason people ''choose'' to be homeless. Is it honestly a choice when it is driven by illness? To me, it isn't. We can't force them into shelters, but we could fund better outreach and treatment services to reduce their numbers, especially since so many of them are veterans.
  10. by   Roy Fokker
    Quote from Angie O'Plasty, RN
    Who exactly determines this able-bodiedness/able mindedness?
    You mean we can't tell a slacker from someone who is genuinely in need? Do we need some sort of official government form to decide if someone we know is genuinely in need or is just too darned lazy to shape up?

    Say you give someone shelter for 6 weeks - at the end, the person has neither offered to help around the house, not has he/she sought employment... neither do they try and advance themselves in school/scholastic/technical ability (with your help, if need be)....

    ... would you still let such a person occupy space at your residence? Eat your food? Live off of your labor?

    If he/she were your child, would you not persuade them to seek employment? Would you not force them to be responsible for themselves? Would you not counsel their decisions? Would you not hold them responsible for their choices and actions - as this is the only way they earn maturity and freedom?

    I knew #6 in my post would attract attention [Does that mean #1-#5 is/are feasible?].

    The most common assumptions that are made about me include (and AngieOPlasty, I'm not saying you're making any of these about me):

    1. I must be conservative/Republican/Southern/white/non-minority/rich. Thus I am anti-minority/anti-poor.
    2. I know not, nor have ever experienced 'poverty' in my life.
    3. I think "exceptions" make the rule.
    4. I "blame the poor" for their predicament.

    Define: "Charity".

    Definitions run the gamut from:

    Philantrophy.org
    In popular use the term Charity is often used as a synonym for voluntary, or not-for-profit organisations, popularly understood as organisation that raise funds for or offer support to the disadvantaged in society.
    To... our very own federal government:
    a private, non-profit, philanthropic, human health and welfare organization.
    Please note the "private", "non-profit" nature of the definitions.

    Charity, by definition, begins at home! Through the self. Through convincing other free individuals to contribute to the cause.

    Forcing people to contribute to your pet charity is just as immoral as forcing people to contribute to your pet house or your pet war.

    The ends, do not, justify the means.

    Quote from Angie O'Plasty, RN
    Who runs society but government?
    Uhhh, actually "society" - through the body politic - elects representatives who act on our behalf to form a "government".

    As such, "government" doesn't 'run' society - it's the other way around.

    Quote from Angie O'Plasty, RN
    Where exactly does society get funding and resources, but from government?
    Government money is OUR money. Without taxes and duties levied on society (i.e. YOU and ME) government has NO source of income! You think government gets its money from trees? Of course not! You and me both know that government can get it's money only from taxing us - or borrowing it (which is STILL taxation! Who will repay that borrowed money? You and me? Or our children?).

    Quote from Angie O'Plasty, RN
    I just don't understand how this is supposed to happen without some sort of bureaucracy.

    Could you please elaborate?
    For hundreds of years - it happened and happened well enough without the need for "bureaucracy". In fact, even today - private charities consistently out perform government subsidies in terms of consistency, equality and effectiveness.

    The sad fact is that today people have come to accept government interference as a part and parcel of everyday life - not remembering that it was never intentioned as such and certainly didn't exist so for the first hundred fifty years of the US Republic.

    Government has never - and will never - represent "benevolence". It is, and has always been, force. Naked, raw, aggressive force. Power.

    People have just become accustomed to "using" the co-ercive power when it suits their needs ... be it banning gay marriage/abortion or enforcing anti-smoking/anti-gun laws.

    All in the name of "democracy" of course. Perish the thought that we are actually a Republic!


    My rather weighty follow up contribution to a contentious issue,
    Roy
    Last edit by Roy Fokker on Jan 20, '07
  11. by   babynurselsa
    I see a huge difference in someone who has fell on hard times and needs a helping hand and does anything and everything to improve their situation. Such as the family that gets laid off and loses thier home.
    THen there are those who CHOOSE to sit beside the freeway exit and panhandle for their next bottle of listerine, then go sleep it off in a local ER because it is more comfortable than jail, plus they can leave as soon as they wake up a little more sober to start all over again. They can tell you where they can go for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They REFUSE any offers of detox, work programs, or any rehabilitative program.
    If it is your right to refuse to be a contributing member of society, it is my right to refuse to subsidize your chouce to live inder a bridge and drink listerine or $1 vodka. If we want to say that "they cannot help it" then we need to make a safe warm place for these people to live where my children do not have to watch you peeing all over yourself, or masturbating while lying on the sidewalk.
  12. by   Spidey's mom
    I pay Roy a rather hefty salary to be my mouthpiece. . . . . .

    Bravo Roy - the check is in the mail.


    steph
  13. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from babynurselsa
    I see a huge difference in someone who has fell on hard times and needs a helping hand and does anything and everything to improve their situation. Such as the family that gets laid off and loses thier home.
    THen there are those who CHOOSE to sit beside the freeway exit and panhandle for their next bottle of listerine, then go sleep it off in a local ER because it is more comfortable than jail, plus they can leave as soon as they wake up a little more sober to start all over again. They can tell you where they can go for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They REFUSE any offers of detox, work programs, or any rehabilitative program.
    If it is your right to refuse to be a contributing member of society, it is my right to refuse to subsidize your chouce to live inder a bridge and drink listerine or $1 vodka. If we want to say that "they cannot help it" then we need to make a safe warm place for these people to live where my children do not have to watch you peeing all over yourself, or masturbating while lying on the sidewalk.
    Fortunately we don't see alot of that here in rural Northern CA - but I do see it everytime I go to San Francisco for a conference and decide to walk around the city.

    I agree that private enterprise does a much better job of helping homeless folks. There is a great charity run in a local city that has a drug rehab program, a program to help train for jobs, a woman's shelter, etc., and it is all run on private donations. They have a high level of success.

    Grassroots is where it should be and the government needs to back the heck off of taking more money from my paycheck.

    steph
  14. by   babynurselsa
    Yes stevie, that is true. The largest part of the recipients of these programs are PARTICIPANTS. They utilize the help to change their situation.
  15. by   VivaLasViejas
    It is difficult---if not impossible---to pull yourself up by your bootstraps when you haven't any boots.

    That said, I hesitate to place the responsibility for 'helping' the homeless on government. Homelessness is NOT a one-size-fits-all problem, and thus does not have a one-size-fits-all solution. There is an enormous difference between a family that falls on hard times due to job loss or illness and can no longer afford housing, and a hard-core "street person" who refuses the shelters because he doesn't like their rules. I don't like to use the term "deserving poor" because it implies that there are "undeserving poor", when living in a civilized society is supposed to guarantee that EVERYONE's basic needs are met. (Think Maslow........air, water, food, and shelter are all basic human needs.)

    But what do you do with people who don't want to live by the rules of our 'civilized society'? How do you help someone who doesn't WANT help? I don't necessarily agree with what those cops did---homeless people have to live somewhere---but on the other hand, is it your job, or mine, to provide for them what they refuse to provide for themselves?

    I don't think so. Like Roy, I tend toward a libertarian view, which minimizes the role of government in everyday life and encourages the efforts of those who contribute to the general welfare, rather than drain our society of its finite resources. I'm all for private charities and religious institutions offering their services, but I don't believe my hard-earned tax dollars should support those who are able to help themselves, but who will not do so.

    I've been poor myself (although I've been homeless only once, and that was only briefly when we first moved to Oregon), so please don't think I'm being holier-than-thou. But by golly, when I asked for help, I went by the rules, and I worked hard to get to a place where I didn't need public assistance anymore.

    However, there is another cause of chronic homelessness that I see as being responsible for a huge part of the problem, and that's mental illness. Back in the early 1980s, under the guise of 'kindness' and 'human rights', America de-institutionalized millions of psychiatric patients, including many veterans. They were put out into a society that was unprepared to deal with their issues and behaviors, and fiscally unable to care for them in the community setting thanks to Reagan-era budget cuts. It was perhaps one of the cruelest things we have ever done; even today, we are paying the price in terms of human misery: drug and alcohol abuse, increased crime, poverty, disease, and death.

    It may not be the most popular thing, but I say we either need to reinstitute mental hospitals, or increase funding for community programs and group homes that care for mentally ill people who can't function in society without supervision. These people shouldn't be on the streets, either literally or figuratively; they are a danger to themselves, if not others, and they need caretakers to make sure they take their medications and give them guidance in decision-making. This is where government can, and SHOULD, intervene........and until this happens, we can count on seeing more and more homeless people on our city streets, their meager belongings taken from them like candy from a baby, their rights ignored, and generally treated like something scraped off the bottom of a shoe.

close