Monday, August 08, 2005

I've Found a Solution to the Homelessness Crisis


I love DC, really I do. And I especially love the Supreme Court, which I visited today, however, I tell ya, if Americans got off their high horse and cared just a lil less about how our capital looked and a lil more about the people starving on the street, we might all be better off for it. I'm telling you, the new solution to our homelessness crisis is to sell off all the marble in DC. If we did that, we could feed all the homeless in America for years. And they say you need to be an expert with a Ph.D. to try to solve economic problems like world hunger...

23 Comments:

At 8/8/05, 12:56 PM, Blogger Nephtuli said...

We don't need to sell the marble in the capital to solve world hunger. The problem with solving world hunger is not that we lack the money to feed the poor, but that we don't see any point in just giving charity to people unless it will lead to the person bettering his life. Giving five dollars to some guy on the subway will not solve his problems because he'll just be back for more the next day. Similarly, feeding every homeless person in DC for a day, week, or even year will solve nothing long term. Handouts, by themselves, are pointless.

 
At 8/8/05, 2:02 PM, Blogger Eli7 said...

I agree with you Nephtuli that handouts alone are pointless. Give a man a fish feed him for a day, teach a man to fish feed him for a lifetime. But before you can teach a man to fish, you have to make sure he's not starving to death and you have to give him a place to hang his proverbial hat - a home and some clothing.

And then, yes, you teach people to make their own money. I do not believe anyone should be living on welfare forever, but I also do believe that we need to help these people up before we can expect them to make their own livings - and that's where the DC marble comes in...

 
At 8/8/05, 2:10 PM, Blogger Nephtuli said...

But I don't see how giving them money now will neccesarily lead to them learning how to be self-sufficient. It's not like we don't have food stamps and homeless shelters (never mind HUD) in the city. We still have those people on the subway, don't we?

 
At 8/8/05, 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW DC to me seems to be one of the kindest, or at least non-malevolent, cities with regard to the homeless. Homeless people are allowed to basically camp out anywhere, and during the winter you'll see them sleeping over steam-grates along the Mall.

 
At 8/8/05, 2:16 PM, Blogger Eli7 said...

Anon, check out NY if you want to see a city that lets their homeless anywhere. NY even lets them on the subway. Though it is absolutely heartbreaking to see all the homeless people in NY begging for food and money and anything in between.

 
At 8/8/05, 3:33 PM, Anonymous J said...

I don't necessarily know if this is true, but I've been reading Bernard Goldberg's book Bias regarding the media slanting the facts they report. He states there that the media has misled the public about homelessness. Instead of "big government" or "corporate America" truly being the culprit in the homelessness crisis he says the real reason is that most of the homeless people are homeless is because they are drug addicts, mentally ill, or otherwise incapacitated. He quotes numerous sources including one that states "homelessness is in large measure a mental health problem that defies the conventional liberal answers of housing and jobs"

This certainly is an alternate answer, one that will easily explain that (as stated in the book) "no amount of low cost housing will solve the homelessness crisis".

Just wanted to throw something else into the discussion...love the blog.

 
At 8/8/05, 4:24 PM, Blogger Classmate-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

Well it does appear that the majority of the homeless I city NYC appear to be crazy, so I can't imagine that low-cost housing will be of much help.

BTW, J- have you read Bernie's latest book?

 
At 8/8/05, 5:14 PM, Anonymous J said...

CWY-
Just browsed in some random bookstores, I would have bought it, but it's too expensive and not in libraries yet :-( .

Did you see the Jon Stewart bit where he blasted Goldberg? If so what'd you think of it?

 
At 8/8/05, 5:31 PM, Blogger Classmate-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

didn't see it...when was it, I'll download the episode

 
At 8/8/05, 5:42 PM, Blogger Classmate-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

Just found a link to it, Bernie doesn't interview well.

 
At 8/8/05, 5:46 PM, Blogger Classmate-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

It's hard to be interviewed by leytz...

 
At 8/8/05, 5:57 PM, Anonymous J said...

CWY - what'd you think of Jon Stewart's points? While I don't completely agree with him I think that they definitely had some merit. I have not read the whole book, but from what I've seen Goldberg bashes the people that don't have the same sense of morality as him. And while I agree with Goldberg in the sense that I also don't like a lot of the people that he lists, I don't think he really should be touting these people as the "people who are hurting America".

If you boil it down, morality is basically objective. It's pretty hard to argue otherwise. Just because Goldberg doesn't agree with the morals of the people he lists, it doesn't mean they are "hurting America", but rather they are just "bothering Goldberg". These are not necessarily one and the same.

 
At 8/8/05, 5:58 PM, Blogger Classmate-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

Probably a mistake for him to have been interviewed by Stewart, he should have known that he was walking into a lion's den.

 
At 8/8/05, 6:08 PM, Blogger Classmate-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

Read the whole book...then we can talk.

 
At 8/8/05, 6:18 PM, Blogger TRW said...

I thought about that when we went to see the crown jewels...all that gold, and all those people starving in (fill in the blank)...

 
At 8/8/05, 6:23 PM, Anonymous J said...

trw, funny story about that too, I was in London recently and went to the tower of London, and of course saw the crown jewels there. On the way out I asked one of the guards how much they worth or insured for. The guard took extreme offense that I could even ask that...and he's like "priceless...you can't put a price on them...". Just thought it was funny...Those cute British people.

 
At 8/8/05, 7:25 PM, Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

It is true that many of the homeless are mentally ill. In the 60's, the government cut back on federally-funded mental health facilities and large numbers of mentally ill people became homeless. In later decades, with insufficient institutions, many mentally ill people go directly to the streets.

As for the original point, it's true of most governments and religions. Look at the obscene amount of money the Catholic church has in Vatican City -- and yet they still collect charity.

At least for charities, you can go to places like http://www.charitynavigator.org/ to see how much money is being wasted.

Or maybe we could just devote 1% of the Iraq war budget to the problem.

 
At 8/9/05, 6:29 AM, Blogger Eli7 said...

If it's true that many of the poor are mentaly ill, then shouldn't we do something about that? Those people clearly cannot be blamed for their own poverty and as a society we owe them at least some form of assistance.

That can be the first thing we do after we sell DC's marble and England's Crown Jewels. Agreed?

 
At 8/9/05, 7:06 AM, Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

Absolutely. Then we can tackle HIV/AIDS.

 
At 8/9/05, 7:22 AM, Anonymous J said...

Agreed we should do something about it, but the typical way to approach homelessness is to blame certain factions, groups, members of the government for policies/inaction/etc... about housing/taxes/etc... but does not necessarily focus on the underlying cause of homelessness itself. It's possible that if it did the whole homeless situation would be quite a different scene than it is now.

Also, I don't know if there's much you can do for someone who has spent his or her entire life high on cocaine, and has less brain cells left than an embryonic insect. It's possible, though, that you might be able to help those people who can be helped (i.e. a mental imbalance that can be remedied by medication). The only thing you can do for others is to lock them up in a mental home...

 
At 8/9/05, 7:31 AM, Blogger Eli7 said...

Hey, Jewish Atheist, you gotta dream big...

J, I think you're right that we need to approach the problem from a different angle, and looking to lay blame is never a good approach. I do not know what we can do for who, but I think we owe it to society to try, and I'm not sure I would phrase what we would do with the rest as, "locking them up in a mental hospital..."

 
At 8/9/05, 8:15 AM, Anonymous J said...

If people are mentally damaged to the point of irreparability, what should happen to them? Just leave them on the streets?

 
At 8/9/05, 1:54 PM, Blogger Eli7 said...

No, I think we should take care of them and hospitalize them if necessary, but saying that we should lock them up in mental hospitals displays a lack of respect for the mentally disabled and the institutions we employ to care for them.

I know this seems like a semantics game, but if our attitude toward the mentally ill is that we lock 'em up and keep them out of our way, well that will adversely affect how we deal with these people, and that's a terrible thing.

 

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