Tag: homelessness

Stephen Eide joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss how homeless services are putting pressure on one of New York City’s most valued cultural institutions: the New York Public Library. Eide describes the situation in “Disorder in the Stacks,” his story in the Spring 2019 Issue of City Journal.

Erica Sandberg joins City Journal associate editor Seth Barron to discuss the deteriorating state of public order in San Francisco.

The Bay Area’s most densely populated and desirable neighborhoods are being destroyed by lawlessness and squalor. San Francisco now leads the nation in property crime, according to the FBI. “Other low-level offenses,” Sandberg reports for City Journal, “including drug dealing, street harassment, encampments, indecent exposure, public intoxication, simple assault, and disorderly conduct are also rampant.”

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So I’m in this long-term, low-grade struggle to understand why/when conservatives began to view libertarianism with such suspicion and disdain, and I just came across the below from Ricochet’s favorite libertarian interloper. It sounds very conservative (to me), but it also sounds very libertarian. He’s arguing against throwing money (private money, in this case, but could […]

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Christopher F. Rufo joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss an urban struggle with street homelessness and the political fight around it in the Pacific Northwest’s largest city.

Known as the “Emerald City” because its surrounding areas are filled with greenery year-round, Seattle has recently seen an explosion of homelessness, crime, and drug addiction. Municipal cleanup crews pick up tens of thousands of dirty needles from the streets, and tent-villages have become a regular presence.

Falling Through the Cracks

 

He was a Vietnam War veteran and was awarded a Purple Heart. He became friends with Emily Cornelius and her mother, Karen, five years ago. Emily was in the 8th grade at the time. Years later in April 2018, she accompanied him on an Honor Flight to Washington, DC. He was 70 years old.

Five years earlier when he met Emily, he was homeless. He passed away last Saturday, August 11 and left behind a sister and a son.


William “Mr. Willie” Dread was living in a homeless camp in Lakeland, FL called “The Chinese Jungle” when Emily discovered him. Over time she and her mother brought him food and clothing and other care packages. Eventually, she found him a place to live in Crystal Court apartments in Lakeland. Mr. Dread talked about this mother and daughter pair before he left on his Honor Flight, saying “I love them both. She [Emily] is just a great young lady.”

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Last night I went to see the new drama Leave No Trace, which is a compelling and heartfelt look at a father — a veteran suffering from PTSD — and his teen daughter as they attempt to live “off the grid.” Leave No Trace was filmed mostly in or near my hometown of Portland, Oregon, […]

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Senseless in Seattle

 

On first inspection, Seattle is and ought to be the envy of the rest of the United States. In 2017, its population stood at about 713,000 people and was growing at 3.1 percent per year, the fastest growth rate of any US city. Its economic revival has been driven by an influx of new software, technology, and internet companies. Among the major corporations headquartered there are Amazon, Starbucks, Nordstrom, and Weyerhaeuser.

But all is not well in Seattle, which is now riven by deep political divisions over what to do about the problem of homelessness. Right now, about 8,000 people within the city limits are homeless, and the city saw 169 homeless deaths in 2017. The progressive leadership within the City Council has introduced or adopted a number of measures to address this issue that are sure to backfire. The first is a special head tax on employment; the second is an ordinance that forbids landlords from inquiring into the criminal records of prospective tenants; and the third is a steep increase in the city’s minimum wage. But the real problem is that sixty-nine percent of Seattle is zoned only for single-family homes, which means there is a sharp division between where wealthy elites live and where lower-income and less-educated people are congregated. The progressive city council has maintained these barriers, with profound social consequences.

This past week, the Seattle City Council announced plans for a head tax of $500 per employee, but only on those 500 or 600 businesses in the city that gross over $20 million dollars per year. That money will be used to provide for low-income housing and emergency services for homeless people. That tax works out to over $20 million per year for Amazon, which employs some 45,000 people in Seattle. Amazon did not take kindly to this special tax that could easily rise over time. It thus took the extraordinary step of stopping construction on its new 17-story office tower on Rainier Square that on completion could house an additional 7,000 to 8,000 workers. Its exit threat is credible. Amazon has opened up new office spaces for about 5,000 more workers in Boston and Vancouver—the latter in part because of the difficulty of getting suitable visas into the United States. And it is actively looking for a second headquarters—that it could convert into its new primary hub. Remember Boeing left town in 2001.

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https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/04/13/fashion/weddings/homeless-wedding-in-seattle-under-interstate-overpass.html Here are truths which are self-evident neither to the NYT nor this article’s commentariat: homelessness is dangerous, squalid, cruel and degrading. It is not romantic. It is not a valid “lifestyle choice.” Allowing women and children to live this way is today’s socially acceptable domestic  and child abuse. Preview Open

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Homeless in LA

 

I work as the director of a faith-based homeless shelter. Housing First is the public policy idea that we should first build apartments where people can live, then worry about things like addictions and finding jobs. Case management is optional.

These homes will be centers of drug use, prostitution, and worse. The problems plaguing someone camping four blocks from where he grew up won’t be solved by Housing First because what makes people homeless isn’t the lack of a home. Homelessness is a symptom, not the disease, even in Los Angeles. My fair city of Boise, ID is the fastest-growing city in America. Guess where everyone’s from? People who are enough on the ball can do something about LA housing prices — and they’re doing it.

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This is a quote from an article on the KOMO News Web site, regarding homelessness in Seattle: The City has six sanctioned homeless camps. Organizers say 843 people were housed throughout the camps last year, with one in 10 finding employment and one in six moving into permanent housing. Preview Open

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About half way to the coffee stop on my exercise walk, a wretched man appeared, coming the other way. His face was darkened by tattoos, grime, and outdoor living. His arms waved about and his bare feet took him on a meandering course. He looked up and about at who knows what, his mouth moving […]

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People think the homeless are just like you and me, except they don’t have homes. Given that man is a social animal, homelessness actually means a person’s relationships are frayed to the point of nonexistence. Getting to homelessness is a long time in the making and it’s no way to live. Keep this in mind […]

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Michael Totten joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss the issue of homelessness in his hometown of Portland, Oregon.

Portland is often called the “City of Bridges” for the many structures that cross the city’s two rivers. Underneath many of those bridges are homeless encampments complete with tents, plastic tarps, shopping carts — and people.

The Obamaville Olympics?

 

I live near Los Angeles’s most infamous green space, the titular grounds of what may be the strangest hit in pop song history (the original hit № 2 on the charts in 1968 for Richard Harris — yes, the actor Richard Harris — while the more famous rendition by Donna Summer topped the charts a decade later). MacArthur Park has seen a lot of problems in the 15 years I’ve lived near it. In that time, it has gone from a No Man’s Land where gangs — notably the 18th Street Gang and Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), two infamous international criminal organizations with roots in the area — would sell drugs and dump bodies in the lake, to the vital heart of the mostly densely populated area of the country west of the Mississippi River. The area, known as Westlake (because the lake was on Los Angeles’s western periphery about a century ago), is home to Central American immigrants, many of them illegals, though also some Koreans priced-out of neighboring Koreatown.

Many groups have sought to rehabilitate MacArthur Park, making the area a safer, more livable place for some of Los Angeles’s poorest residents by encouraging families, especially mothers, to use the park en masse. The strategy worked: The presence of moms, kids, and even intact families in the park and on the adjacent streets has gone a long way toward reducing crime and changing the neighborhood for the better. But, in the last year or so, a new problem has shown up in MacArthur Park and the surrounding streets that has beaten back the families and made the streets more dangerous: the tents. In the past few years, homeless encampments and tent villages have proliferated across Los Angeles. The city has always has a massive homelessness problem, so much so that it even became the ultimate punchline of the 2007 South Park episode “Night of the Living Homeless.”

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Today driving to see the new Star Wars movie in San Francisco, it was cold and rainy. I was listening to my local NPR station because, well, I torture myself sometimes, and they were talking about the thousands of homeless people out on the streets tonight in the cold San Francisco rain, that there are […]

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Your Tax Dollars at Work (for Those Who Don’t)

 

shutterstock_151870730On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times told of a report from the City Administrative Officer titled “Homelessness and the City of Los Angeles.” Among the revelations in the report is that 15 different city agencies and departments spend more than $100 million each year on providing services to the homeless. “In July 2014,” the report says, “the Mayor pledged to end veteran homelessness by December 2015 and chronic homelessness in Los Angeles by December 2016.” As with any report from any government bureaucracy, this one says these goals will be achieved through the spending of even more money to be extracted from the taxpayer.

The report also contained recommendations, including this: “Treatment of the homeless with dignity, and clarity on their rights.”

Dignity and rights, they say. Well, sure, who isn’t for dignity and rights? But reading the report put me in mind of interactions I’ve had with some of the city’s homeless people, about whom “dignified” is not among the first thousand adjectives one would use to describe them. Here is a story about one of them:

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A dearly departed friend, whose ample generosity toward each of the downtrodden he met would have had him constantly cloakless in early Anni Domini times, once persuaded me that I should reconsider giving money to urban street people instead of buying them some food. Even if they were soon off to the liquor store with […]

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