No legal right to harass citizens
and befoul the environment
No babies were eaten
in the production of today’s carbon-neutral blogge
Nothing is a better bet in guilt-ridden Madison than more tax money for the homeless. No government budget is complete without new initiatives to combat homelessness. Go ahead, cut the police and starve the fire department but do not step on my blue suede shoes.
It is progressive holy writ that “homelessness is a housing problem, it is involuntary, and it persists because of inadequate public spending.” That’s the nut graph from the essential Heather Mac Donald, the Manhattan Institute scholar whose work, from the evidence, is prohibited in the City-County Building in Madison.
More free stuff
Downtown Ald. Mike Verveer told Isthmus this summer businesses and residents have long complained about aggressive panhandling, drug dealing and fighting at the busy intersection where the Square meets State Street. “This has been an ongoing problem for several summers now,” Verveer says.
From the Badger Herald 10-01-19: Madison stakeholders are coming together to address homelessness in the State Street and downtown entertainment areas by initiating government activity and working with shelters.
Gov. Tony Evers, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority Executive Director Joaquin Altoro and Wisconsin Interagency Council on Homelessness Director Michael Basford announced Sept. 18 funds will be allocated to projects that help the homeless.
Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway announced changes in July aimed at increasing the quality of life on State Street, and local officials and organizations are routinely pitching in on the effort. Solutions include installing port-a-potties and allocating lockers for belongings.
Free needles and beef jerky
Ms. Mac Donald examined San Francisco, which made a choice to tolerate vagrancy and encourage drug use, with dire results.” The social scientist writes:
The Health Department distributes 4.5 million syringes a year, along with alcohol swabs, vitamin C to dissolve heroin and crack, and instructions on how to tie one’s arm for a hit. Officials have installed 17 needle-disposal boxes and kiosks throughout the city, signaling to children that drug use is a normal part of adult life. Only 60% of the city’s free needles are returned; the rest end up on the sidewalks or in the sewers.
Outreach workers hand out beef jerky, crackers and other snacks. …
Guess what? “Free services and food—along with maximal tolerance for antisocial behavior — act as magnets.” In effect, Big Gummint is subsidizing your substance abuse.
Moving the needle?
In Dane county, In Dane County, 42% of homeless people are mentally ill; 29% abuse substances; 18% are victims of domestic violence. That’s according to an annual survey conducted by the Homeless Services Consortium of Dane County.
Over the last five years, government spending has managed to reduce family housing by 37% compared to five years ago. But the needle hasn’t moved (so to speak) on the number of chronically homeless single adults. And over the last 12 months, chronic homelessness increased by 17%.
Solution: secure sheltered workshops
Clean and sober campuses, serving an entire region, could be built on abandoned or undeveloped land in industrial zones and rural areas. Cities and counties should pool resources for these facilities, since the vagrancy problem is fluid — people move from one place to another. The bare-bones campuses must be immaculately maintained, safe and disciplined, so residents learn habits of self-control. Everyone should work.
Calling Speaker Vos
State legislation is needed to set up expedited judicial custody courts that would allow municipalities to intervene on behalf of chronic vagrants who are a danger to themselves and/or others. And the will to defend it in court. Set minimum but reasonable parameters, something like three citations for disorderly conduct; one or two instances of sleeping on a grate on a sub-zero night; 30 days in a 12-month period of roosting on a public bench; a psychiatric diagnosis that the person is a danger to self or society.
Fox News 6 in Milwaukee reports that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has given notices to those staying at a Milwaukee homeless encampment known as “Tent City” under the Marquette Interchange in Milwaukee to remove themselves and their property by the end of this month.
Heather’s Bottom Line: “No one has a right to live in the most expensive real-estate market in the country, certainly not on the public’s dime. It isn’t clear why any city is morally obligated to provide housing to someone who starts living on its streets.”
Blaska’s Bonus Bottom Line: Let’s not forget, street people are also prime victims — usually of other street people but also from punks who enjoy hurting others.