Crocodile tears for the homeless

For me, it’s a pretty straight line from gentrification and ludicrously high rents, especially such as to be found pretty much along the entire U.S. west coast, to homelessness. But, we are to believe:

With an issue as complex as homelessness, local governments need all the tools and information available to make informed choices about how to help people, said Theane Evangelis, lead counsel for the City of Boise.

“Right now the Ninth Circuit decision takes that debate off the table and makes it impossible for cities to come up with solutions,” Evangelis said.[1]


I lived in California for over fifty years. I drove a lot in the San Francisco Bay Area where I saw homeless encampments, some the size of villages, in nearly every available place. I saw fences go up around sites that had been cleared of the homeless, to prevent them from returning. I saw very little done to address the problems of the homeless. I mostly saw a “move ’em along” approach: Evicted from one place, the homeless could only move to another.

And it isn’t like the problem is new: When I first moved to Sacramento in 1976, the shortest walkable route to the American River took me right by a massive homeless encampment. This has been going on for decades. And only getting worse.

The “ruling last September bar[s] municipalities from prosecuting homeless people for sleeping on the streets if there are no available shelter beds.”[2] What exactly are these folks supposed to do? When you have an answer for that, then, and only then, can you tell me that they shouldn’t sleep on the streets or in parks.

So I’m calling bullshit: This is about a shortage of affordable housing, which no one wants in their backyards.[3] Because, you know, all these destitute, desperate people will be there, hanging around, because they still can’t get jobs,[4] let alone jobs that actually pay rent.[5] And it’s certainly not about local authorities giving a damn about the welfare of the homeless.

Because some of us know what the cops do at 3:00 am, when they’re bored and have nothing else to do. Some of us have learned the meaning of “private property” as effectively meaning that the homeless have no legal right to even exist.

Don’t even start with this bullshit about how you’re so concerned for the homeless that you won’t allow them a place to sleep.

  1. [1]Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks, “Sacramento wants to overturn this homeless ruling. Now it’s asking the Supreme Court for help,” Sacramento Bee, September 10, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article234894477.html
  2. [2]Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks, “Sacramento wants to overturn this homeless ruling. Now it’s asking the Supreme Court for help,” Sacramento Bee, September 10, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article234894477.html
  3. [3]Richard_Florida, “Meet the ‘New Urban Luddites,’” CityLab, April 18, 2017, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2017/04/meet-the-new-urban-luddites/521040/; Benjamin Schneider, “Meet the PHIMBYs,” CityLab, April 13, 2018, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/04/nimbys-yimbys-and-phimbys-oh-my/557927/
  4. [4]Matthew O’Brien, “The Terrifying Reality of Long-Term Unemployment,” Atlantic, April 13, 2013, https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/04/the-terrifying-reality-of-long-term-unemployment/274957/
  5. [5]Kate Gibson, “Minimum wage doesn’t cover the rent anywhere in the U.S.,” CBS News, June 14, 2018, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/minimum-wage-doesnt-cover-the-rent-anywhere-in-the-u-s/

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