One American Citizen

The View Of An American Citizen
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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Homelessness is not a Housing Crisis

     Ive heard it so many times before "We need more affordable housing to tackle the homelessness problem". You know what I hear? I Hear "We need more of your money to throw at a problem that has only gotten worse". We don't have a homelessness problem. Being homeless is one of the symptoms of the much larger, and deadlier, problem. We have a drug problem across the country.       
     Seattle is a prime example of politicians crying about affordable housing. This year the budget for homelessness will surpass $100 million. This money will be used for shelters and other projects, but there is one thing it will not address. It will do nothing to combat the heroine use on the streets of Seattle which is the primary reason for homelessness.  In fact, there is no requirement for anyone using these shelters to stop using drugs. They can come and go as they please and shoot up on the sidewalk as soon as they walk out the door.
     I actually was completely on board with the tiny house plan. They are affordable, cheap to maintain, and you can fit a lot of them in a small area. The reason I'm against it now, once again, there is no requirement to abstain from drug use while living there. How can a problem that is caused by drug use be fixed when there is zero requirement to stop using drug? It can't. The city is trying to go even further with safe injection sites. Basically saying "we know you are living in our houses and are going to shoot up so we will help you do it safely". They are saying this all the while these people are stealing and mugging people in order to pay for their addiction.
     So...This is what actually needs to be done. The city needs to make it illegal to possess or use drugs in public and the need to make camping on public property a crime. I've said that many time and usually the response is something like "So your just gonna throw them in jail and expect them to get better". No actually I have a better plan. As I stated before, the city is planning on spending over $100 million dollars on homelessness this year. Instead of affordable housing, lets use that money to build a city owned rehab facility. There is more than enough money to get the project started. After it's complete, the Seattle police start arresting people using or possessing drugs and camping on the street. At the time of the arrest, they are given two options: A mandatory 90 day stay in this new facility where they will learn skills and have resources that will help them when they get out or they go to jail for 90 days. Regardless they get cleaned up for the time being.
     Now I'm not naive. I understand this tactic will not work for everyone. Having been around addiction, I completely understand that it can take multiple times through a rehab facility before it actually works. This plan will be the new revolving door. Instead of the revolving door at the jail where these people get caught and let out in the same day, this will be the revolving door of treatment. There will be no maximum amount of times a person can visit. If you get let out and decide to commit another crime, you get to come right back in. Not only will this actually get these people help, but it will clean up the streets.
     For those of you who haven't visited Seattle in awhile, the streets are disgusting. There is feces and urine everywhere. Walking down the street involves making sure you don't step on a needle. If you park your car in Seattle, you better make sure its completely empty or else your window will be smashed and your belongings stolen for drug money. There has also been an escalation in violent crime happening. Tourist walking down the street being mugged, joggers on trails being assaulted. This is all the direct result of the city leaders policies and its time to clean it up.
     The other important factor in all this is humanity. These are people on the streets. They may not want the help but they need it. It is completely inhumane for city leaders to let them sleep on the streets in filth. It's even more inhumane to give them a place to inject the poison in their veins and send them back out to the streets. For the sake of the city and its residents. Its time to stop talking about affordable housing and start talking about addiction.

-American Citizen
    
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