Saturday, November 22, 2008

Criminalizing Homelessness?

I heard Michael Medved say something interesting again yesterday. He was talking about homeless people, and he said that people don't have a right to live on the streets. Ok. So where are people who have no place to stay supposed to go? What is the law that Medved would like to see enforced supposed to do with the homeless? Throw them in jail? For what fair reason? For how long? And to what effect? If you have no place to stay, where are you supposed to live? Where are you supposed to sleep? What are you supposed to do? You can try to get a job. But what if you can't? And what if the job you get doesn't pay enough to rent a place to stay, or it will take a long time to save enough from it to rent a place? What's a person to do until then? What is the law to do with him? How should we as a society regard and treat him?

Michael Medved seems like a smart person. He also seems like a fool.

1 comment:

Tom said...

As a homeless Sacramentan, I thank you for your post.

The charities that provide help for the poor in Sacramento are suffering from a steep decline in contributions. I know this from what the director of our city's prime homeless-help facility told me in an interview, and from what the local rescue-mission director has said in radio ads.

Meantime the homeless population is expanding due to the colapsing econmy.

Regarding jobs: they aren't there. You know what the homeless guys I know are doing? Taking short-term payment-under-the-table jobs, when they can find them, for less than minimum wages. And no one I know in Sacramento's Homeless World expects to earn enough from what work is out there to get unsubsidised housing. The cupboard is empty in these harrowing times.

Further, the Sacramento police are giving out warnings to people camped in the city, telling them they must vacate. This is happening at the same time that the so-called Winter Shelter is opening up (for a much reduced duration as compared to previous years). It will soon be filled by the folks living out on the streets.

At the rescue mission, something like only half the people who apply for a week of having a bed are getting one. Times are tough. I've been lucky: the last person who got in each of the last two weeks.

It is rough -- very rough -- being homeless. Michael Medved IS a fool, even if he has the excuse of daunting ignorance.