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The problem of homelessness is not going away. In fact, it is not getting better. It is getting worse.
The city of Los Angeles is allocating 3.7 million dollars to clean up skid row. Not to address the problem .... just to make the problem less visible for a few months.
The folks at places like Union Rescue Mission / Andy Bales and folks at The Midnight Mission / Larry Adamson can use your help. The situation will not improve using the same limited resources and thought processes that have failed for years. The reason I mention Andy and Larry is that hopefully our local city government can grab the two of them and form a committee that will listen to them blindly rather than continue to fail.
You can help. Look at these two organizations mentioned above. Learn more.
The problem is HUGE and 3.7 million dollars is a finger in the proverbial dam. BUT .... even small amounts are effective if properly allocated. Back to my shotgun analogy, in my era in Vietnam the number of rounds fired per kill was thousands. The number of rounds fired by snipers per kill was 1.7. $3.7 million dollars will be gone in a flash. In a few months there will be nothing to show for the expense other than some of the contractors upgrading their cars or procuring a bigger flat screen TV.
But .... these resources can be allocated much more effectively if, as I have said earlier, a committee was formed with folks on a board. Some of those I mentioned in the past would be substantial assets as board members. Andy Bales, Jacqui Groseth, Don Garza, Larry Adamson would make a great start.
If you look behind the proverbial curtain and spend a day or two at URM and look at where their money is spent you would see they know how to stretch a dollar. A full meal is $2.08. I have eaten these meals and (this is for you Dan Boul .... better than most meals any of my ex-wives produced when we were married) .... Housing, showers, health care (mental, medical, dental), legal services, counselling, family programs.
The list goes on and on. Look at Hope Gardens run by URM. - http://urm.convio.net/.../HopeGardens_LandingPage.htmlLook at how much can be done with money of the sort that the City of Los Angeles allocates for temporary action to an ongoing issue.
I could go on and on and on and on. Look at some of the links, talk to some of the folks I mentioned. Learn a bit more about the problems and how folks that know the issues spend money more effectively and wisely.
I guess this is the end of my diatribe .... for the moment.
Diane Rainbowitz One can't underestimate the serious mental illness issues that may contribute to homelessness, along with the marginalization of anyone who believes in true democracy and knows that resources are allocated more equitably in countries like Sweden for example. Re serious mental illness read about Rep Tim Murphy's HR 3717
Myles Rose Diane Rainbowitz - Yes, there are mental illness issues, drug and alcohol issues as well. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the public believe that these stereotypes are the main reason for the problem. This may have been the case years ago. It is no longer the case today.
The people on the street are folks that used to be our neighbors. They are folks we ate lunch with in the company cafeteria. They are the young men and women our country sent to fight in the Mid East and turned their back on when they came home. They are families and children. The face of homelessness since around 2008 has it's roots based in the economy, job loss and economics.
I suppose mental illness will always be a major factor that people walking by will attribute to the problem. Spend two weeks living on a sheet of cardboard covered with carpet felt as padding, no shower and a diet worse than that of a pigeon in a McDonald's parking lot and you too will be mentally unstable and changed. You will also look a bit different than you did in your clothes that were washed recently, your hair and your blackened hands and feet make you look.
Bottom line .... the serious mental issues impact a small percentage of the folks at the start of their tenure on the streets of Los Angeles but everybody that spends more than a few weeks living on the street will graduate with serious mental issues.
Diane Rainbowitz Which is why I urge everyone to learn about HR3717.
The history of mental illness in this country is that mental hospitals were emptied out under Kennedy and Reagan, supposedly to "free" those individuals for release to community care, which never materialized. It's true, the wholesale institutionalization for life of people with mental illness was awful. It's also true that with proper treatment, people with such brain disorder can rehabilitate and recover their function.
Unfortunately now if a person is psychotic, they may be hospitalized for a couple of days (but ONLY if they're a danger to self or other). They may be released back to the same place they were in before, without having gotten any measure of help for their condition. The community resources (and hospital beds) are woefully inadequate to meet the needs of people whose brains have been affected by combat, joblessness, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse.
The other placement of choice is jail. People with mental illness occupy 30-40% of current prison beds. Again because the resources and knowledge to help them is scarce.
The efforts of Midnight Mission, Union Rescue Mission are a pitiful drop in the bucket of what is needed to heal these wounds. The homelessness problem in L.A. and other metropolitan areas is the ultimate shame of our society, as destructive as it is to the human spirit.
Sorry to elaborate on your wall, Myles. You were saying that it is complex and complicated and it may be better to leave it at that. Please accept my apologies and please feel free to delete this if you feel it is inappropriate to your intention.
Tommy Dale I think it also has to do with how a nation looks at it's citizens. Societies that look at the population in a "family way" will not accept people dropping out against their will, just like a family will help each other when a member is in trouble.
To put i simple: how can I sleep at night knowing that other people sleep on the street two blocks away..
Myles Rose Diane Rainbowitz. There are many problems in the world. Mental illness is one. Cancer is one. There are many. You can only address a fraction of the problems the world faces. I generally choose to address an issue where I feel an improvement can be made and something where I can get directly involved. That happens to be the homeless issue in the city where I live and the city where I was born.
HR "anything" implies government intervention. I personally feel our government is ineffective and does little more than perform actions that are little more than smoke and mirrors in regard to this problem.
If YOU want to make a difference, give URM a hand. Lord knows it is only people like you that can feed, clothe and provide a bed to somebody today, even if for only today. Our government is not going to do that. Hopefully our new mayor will enlist the help of folks likeAndy Bales to head up any program our local city government wants to attempt to enact to address the problem of homelessness in the City of Los Angeles, the city with the highest homeless population in the nation.