Evicting Homelessness

Unless this man is your mayor, there is a better way to service the homeless.

Unless this man is your mayor, there is a better way to service the homeless.

A recent headline at the Des Moines Register’s website said “Des Moines delays plan to dismantle homeless shacks”.  Evicting the homeless sort of sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s a necessary step for the city.

 

According to most reports, several homeless people have set up camp in a cluster of Homeless Hiltons near the Des Moines River near University Avenue, a major artery through the city.  It became a story when one of the residents of the makeshift homes lit himself on fire in a propane tank accident.  City officials then gave the residents time to clear out or be cleared.

 

Apparently, some of the residents were able to find legal council, which goes to show that even though these bums can’t find homes or afford medical care, there is nothing wrong with America’s legal system.

 

The injunction allowed residents to gather what belongings they had and evacuate the property, which city officials deemed a fire hazard.

 

The city has been criticized to some extent for the handling of this situation, but in this case the city has done the right thing.  This is why cities and states have homeless shelters and halfway houses and churches – to eliminate squatting by the river and “shantytowns” that lead to unsightly messes and hazards for everyone involved.  Bum towns are unsafe for the residents, unsafe for the people living around them, and well, just generally a bad idea.

 

Granted, homeless people need somewhere to rest their heads and get out of the elements, but in a city such as Des Moines, where millions of taxpayers dollars have been spent in recent years to beautify the river walk areas, the last thing needed is a homeless person town. 

 

If the city allowed something like this to continue, there are countless problems that will inevitably creep up.  Increased crime rates, lowering of property values, clean-up costs, damage to the city’s reputation, and more all outweigh the one positive, that being that these residents have a place to go out of the cold, which again leads back to the point that there are shelters, churches, and halfway houses available to those struggling with housing issues.

 

Understandable, calling homeless people bums is a little insensitive.  Many homeless people have severe mental and physical health issues.  The point isn’t that these people don’t deserve help; the point is that they do deserve help, but allowing them to live in dangerous dwellings in unzoned areas is not the answer.  If there are shanty towns in Des Moines and other cities, then it’s time for these cities to come up with a better strategy.  Of course, there will always be homelessness, especially in such trying economical times as these.  Realistically, it isn’t fair to kick these people out of their makeshift dwellings, but it isn’t fair to the other citizens who pay taxes to let these dwellings exist.  It is critical in Des Moines and across the nation that cities and churches and human interest groups organize ways to combat the problem of bum towns and homelessness in general in order to prevent future issues arising from economic and health related tragedies.  Inevitably, homelessness rates across the nation will continue to climb in the near future because of the economy, and without planning in place to take these people off the streets and assist them in a compassionate yet economical manner, this will become an all-too familiar story. – Max

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~ by maxaverage on December 4, 2008.

One Response to “Evicting Homelessness”

  1. Kinky VonKenkel…I don’t understand why there are no photos of you with green hair next to your bum friends…please rectify this situation STAT!

    Like

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