Category Archive 'The “Homeless”'

08 Mar 2019

Big City Compassion in Action

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Jacob Siegel, in American Affairs Journal, notes that the official policies of America’s large liberal cities have a rather merciless impact on the most unfortunate. The Left’s supposed dedication to welfare, compassion, and a government-provided safety net is largely wishful thinking, when it actually comes down to policy choices Big City Democrat Machines socially engineer high-priced living for those with very high incomes. They won’t actually let the cops prod the vagrant with his nightstick and tell him to move along, but they will reduce the total of number of public toilets in Los Angeles available to the homeless to under ten.

In Los Angeles, the cumulative consequences of decades of policy failures going back at least to the deinstitutionalization of the 1970s have settled like sediment at the bottom of an increasingly gilded city above. Homelessness hasn’t gotten worse in spite of LA’s wealth but because of it. A city where working families can’t afford to live has fewer of them—and the web of social connections they form—to catch people as they fall into desperate circumstances and patterns of self-destruction. Without family and community, all that’s left for some are the jails and shelters of the state, or the tent cities granted all the freedom of leper colonies. …

In a major city like Los Angeles, the housing market functions as an invisible messaging apparatus. It conveys the priorities of the government and powerful private interests, and signals to people where they do and do not belong. In this sense, the realtor may be more honest than the mayor or your neighbor about where you are welcome and what purpose, if any, you serve. The message in LA is clear: the working and middle classes are not necessary for the functioning of the city. Those who get the message leave or, if they stay, must adapt to conditions of precarity. The problem is that the homeless live outside the norms and reach of the messaging infrastructure. The city’s poorest and most disturbed people are the least tuned in to the frequency of the market’s signals and otherwise unequipped to respond.

RTWT

09 Jun 2008

Montgomery County Considers Putting Homeless Family into $2.5 Million House

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Johns Hopkins Professor Phyllis Piotrow wanted to sell her brick five-bedroom house next to Hillmead Park in Bethesda, Maryland and retire to New Hampshire.

She had been hoping to sell her house with 1.3 acre lot to a developer, but Montgomery County fought development plans until the real estate market softened, then cajoled Piotrow into selling the property for a below-market price of $2.5 million to be incorporated into the neighboring park.

Then, somebody had an idea, as Marc Fisher reports in the Washington Post, 6/8:

The parks commission had planned to demolish Piotrow’s 1930s house, at a cost of about $65,000. Instead, staffers at Montgomery’s housing agency wondered, why not spend about twice the cost of demolition to renovate Piotrow’s five-bedroom place and use it to house a large (mother with 13 children -DZ) homeless family? After all, finding housing for large families is notoriously difficult, the county already shells out about $100,000 a year to keep a homeless family in a motel and at least six other houses in county parks are being used in similar fashion.

You will not be shocked to learn that the good people of Montgomery County thought this a very poor idea.

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The same Marc Fisher recycles the same story into a blog editorial with a title which wonders indignantly: Is This House Too Nice for the Homeless?

(I mean, really, what kind of person could possibly think that?)

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Residents of the Hillmead neighborhhood evidently could, and did, think un-PC, uncharitable thoughts.

Examiner.com

Washington Post 3/23:

As the Montgomery County Council put the finishing touches on a $2.5 million plan to buy more land for a Bethesda park, council member Nancy Floreen lobbed what has turned out to be the equivalent of a neighborhood cluster bomb:

Why not house a needy family in the 1930s-era home on the property in the Hillmead neighborhood and expand the park at the same time? …

Residents of Hillmead, a leafy community about three miles from downtown Bethesda with small Cape Cods and large McMansions selling for more than $1 million, say they only recently learned of the county’s plans and think officials did a poor job of keeping them informed. …

The Hillmead residents insist that their opposition does not stem from antipathy to poor people. Those leading the fight say it’s a debate about how the county chooses to spend its $4 billion budget in tough economic times, and about due process for communities. …

“This really isn’t about having a homeless family living in a house that is bigger than probably 90 percent of the houses in the neighborhood,” said Brett Tularco, a developer who lives in the neighborhood and has offered to tear down the house to save the county the expense. “Our kids are going to school in trailers and then this homeless family would be living in a $3 million estate. That money could have been spent on housing tons of people instead of one family.”

He said he is also worried about public safety if the homeless family moves on and the county then uses the house to shelter mentally ill residents or drug abusers.

“That really isn’t who we want our kids playing next to,” he said.

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Councilmember Nancy Floreen’s website

29 Apr 2008

Exposing a Small-Scale Racket

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Things are different in Utah. Out there, rather than peddling the usual leftwing sob stories about the homeless, CBS News investigative reporting investigates one of them, revealing a professional panhandler who makes good money pretending to be stranded and in need of the necessary funds to buy a bus ticket home to Seattle.

8:38 video


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