“There’s a remedy for homelessness”

The homeless-led group, First They Came For The Homeless, protests San Francisco’s notorious “sit/lie”law outside of Macy’s, a big supporter of the law.  PHOTO/PETER MENCHINI

The homeless-led group, First They Came For The Homeless, protests San Francisco’s notorious “sit/lie”law outside of Macy’s, a big supporter of the law.


BERKELEY, CA — Throughout history, there have been those that have plenty, and those that have nothing. When those with nothing have suffered enough, they rise up, and take what they need. We are in a time of great need right now. We need a system that puts the people before profit. We need a system based on community. We need a system that represents all people equally. We need a minimum quality of life guarantee.

But these things are not possible. Take just one issue. Homelessness. This is simple to solve. Giving them housing is the obvious solution. Unfortunately “giving” something is bad. There is no profit in that. So, that is not an option. Allowing them tents for shelter will alleviate suffering, and provide storage, security, privacy, personal space, and most importantly, stability to improve their situation. Instead of allowing this, cities attack homeless looking to take care of themselves. They steal the people’s gear, destroy personal possessions, medicines, identification, and tragically, memories. Pictures, family heirlooms, and such. This is done without regard for the law. And the cities get away with it because the homeless cannot fight back in the legal system. To make matters worse, the media uses drugs and mental disabilities to define homeless people. They are “lazy and want everything for free.” If that were true, the torture homeless endure would surely motivate them, right? But there is nothing but more abuses. Torture leads to drug abuse and insanity.  Communities notice what the press says, and miss the homeless grandmother with the backpack blending in. How about the college student doing homework, while wondering whose couch is available. How many abandoned veterans are there?

We are getting poorer. Everyone feels it. Americans are a broken ankle away from homelessness. Next year, there will be more of us out here. And where are city councils on this? Politicians pretend to care, while fence sitting on critical issues that developers or businesses districts don’t like. Not one politician will ever represent the poor. The proof is everywhere, sleeping on cardboard, in front of abandoned buildings.

So, our numbers grow. It’s at 2.5 million now. They are in great need of compassion. They are in great need of respect. And the greatest need of all, the need to survive. And that need will always be filled, or the people will die trying. When a few million more have suffered enough in this country, we will repeat history.

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