Homeless Population Climbs

The local homeless population is climbing, Seth Rosen writes in today’s Progress. 292 people in the area are now homeless, an increase from 266 this time last year. A different study, conducted by local schools, has found that the number of homeless children has climbed from 303 to 354. Half of the homeless folks surveyed say that they were evicted or simply couldn’t afford increased rent costs.

And before somebody drags out the long-discredited claim that Charlottesville is some sort of a magnet for the homeless, remember that it just ain’t true. 63% of the local homeless population here is from here, and 23% are from other parts of Virginia. That means that the homeless are way, way more likely to be from here than you are.

54 thoughts on “Homeless Population Climbs”

  1. Waldo says: “…climbed from 303 to 254.”

    Lemur says: Er… climbed??? Or are the numbers reversed? Or is it just too early in the morning and I’m missing something?

  2. Yeah, C’ville isn’t the homeless Mecca. Those homeless folks who are “in-the-know” all go to Santa Monica. Three squares a day, sleep accommodations and medical care. A true “Continuum of Care”. Sure beats working! But if this economy continues to tank they might get booked up real fast. Call now to reserve your space under the big shade tree in Virginia Avenue Park.

  3. Waldo, you had the “from” right originally. The Progress article has the story as from 303 to 354. It was the 254 that was the error in the original.

  4. If the city and county permitted more apartments to be built it would at least help with housing costs. Everyone wants to talk about affordable housing but the real solution is simply more housing and not everyone should be buying a home.

  5. JMCnamera, the newest apartments being built are renting for $900 for a one-bedroom. The issue, at least in my experience as a renter, isn’t that there aren’t enough apartments, it’s that most of the existing apartments are too expensive for many people in this area.

  6. Homeownership should be restricted to those who have arrived finanically. Homeownship is much more than just saying you own a home. The housing industry would not be in the mess it is in today if had not given home mortgages to those who were not qualified.
    If you have just recently come to charlottesville and are homeless and do not have two nicels to rub together in your pocket then you need to seriously consider moving on. Charlottesville has to much of a reputation for taking in all the down and out’s from somewhere else. The homeless need to be told to keep on moving. You got this far looking for a hand out and an easy way on the dole but we are full up and can’t help. So move on.
    My real estate taxes go up everytime another homeless person is added to the local dole list.

  7. They could at least try and earn that spare change. Whatever happened to the Tamborine Lady? She would put on a heck of show on the D.T. Mall. I used to throw some coin in her can. But I guess that’s more of being an entertainer. Plus, I’m not really sure she was homeless. Oh well.

  8. Meg, apartments would be cheaper if there were more of them. People have a high expectation of what life should be like not what it is. My first apartment was a studio – and frankly, we need more of those in this area.

    However the apartments need to be in town or the edges of it. Maybe some in Crozet but the apartments should be where jobs are and where the shopping is – not in some field in the sticks.

  9. Before Reagan came to power, homelessness wasn’t on our radar screens. You didn’t see people pushing shopping carts holding everything they owned.

    But pre-Reagan is when the Department of Housing and Urban Development had a budget of 32 billion dollars. And HUD was the main source of subsidized housing for the poor.

    By the time he left office, the HUD budget was reduced by three-quarters, to seven and a half billion dollars.

    Plus, Reagan overhauled the tax codes, which reduced incentives for private developers to build low-income housing.

    Those too young to recall the pre-Reagan era may well have the impression that it has always been like this. It hasn’t.

    Addressing this problem is a matter of re-thinking our priorities, and remembering who we are, and why we’re here.

  10. Also depends on who is counted as “homeless”. Is, for example, a family temporarily housed at the Salvation Army shelter homeless? Or at the Shelter for Help in Emergency?
    And then there is the issue of those homeless due to mental illness or substance abuse problems. That makes up a substantial portion I am sure . But of course funding and facilties for mental health care is not sufficient to deal with the problem.
    “Homeless” can mean a number of things. Could be someone living in their car because they lost their job and couldn’t pay rent. Or were burned out(though I would think the Red Cross or Salvation Army could step in there).
    These are the people who deserve any assistance we can give them to get back on their feet after bad luck.
    On the other hand, there is another element who are out on the street because of their own behavior and poor choices. Who get evicted for not paying rent or trashing a place someone has rented them. A now deceased friend of mine used to rent rooms in her Belmont home. Sometimes she’d try to help people like these,maybe someone Region 10 had referred.
    But she had too many bad experiences. She did so in part because she had a child with mental problems and did not like the thought of maybe him ending up on the street.
    When I was younger I would hear my elders say “there are some people who just don’t want to work”(and by implication conform to certain rules of living in society). I thought they were hardhearted at the time. Now I feel exactly the same way. I believe in the saying that you have to want to help yourself first, before anyone can help you.
    It may not be Politically Correct in Charlottesville to say this-but I have absolutely no sympathy for the element that hangs out around the library and Lee Park, panhandles on the Mall and at the Corner,and sometimes trashes Maplewood Cemetery. But it seems like some in power in the city are more concerned about them than the hardworking individuals and families who pay their bills, obey the law, and yet sometimes have a hard time making ends meet.
    And people talk about immigrants-but I see people of Hispanic ancestry working,often at hard manual labor, not being drunken bums and layabouts. And hear of employers everywhere who claim they cannot get labor from among the native population.
    Granted, flipping burgers or cutting grass is not a great job, may not pay much, but it is still a job, and no honest job is demeaning. But a work ethic today seems lacking in so many.

  11. Waldo, you had the “from” right originally. The Progress article has the story as from 303 to 354. It was the 254 that was the error in the original.

    Thank you, Mark. So I compounded my error of rushing off a story last night by rushing off a correction this morning. Yet another symptom of my clearly not being a journalist. :)

    On the topic at hand, I can summon no logic by which it’s ever a tolerable thing to have homeless children.

  12. Jogger=Genius. Wow how could you even be that dense. I grew up and here and I tell you I would love to tell most of the yuppies that have gentrified my hometown to move on too. The guilt and shame you must live with must be tough.
    There are many reasons why someone is homeless, but I do not think that any of us have the right to say that a person “should” be homeless b/c of what they have done in life. Who the hell are you to do that? I assure you that there is always an underlying reason that someone is homeless, very often it is mental health issues, poverty, or substance addiction.
    Some examples for you to ponder:
    How about the alcoholic person that cannot get treatment in the #17th ranked city. Maybe if we had more of that we would see improved numbers? You think?
    How about the abused woman who was sexually assaulted her whole life? What is really available to her?
    How about the snotty gutter punks from Portland that have money but there parents spent too much time into themselves to care when they needed too.

    The fact that anyone would even find it acceptable that someone does not have the basic needs met, and we as a society “should” not do something about says it all. The cells we all live in have taken us away from the fact that we just simply are not always right about our world views, and community is more important than your TV/PC.

    I bet you are angry now too. Why?

  13. The city and county have programs in place to assist with grants for rent and deposits…the City gave a single mother from MARYLAND with a MARYLAND ID $1,200 because she said she wanted to stay in CHARLOTTESVILLE….24 hours after applying, she had the CASH and was GONE!!!

    The PROOF that these homeless are actually from our area is dubious * they could have arrived on the bus 48 hours ago, be living with a relative, and get $$$ because they use the local relative’s local mailing address.

    The problem is these people do not QUALIFY to rent local “private sector” rental units…poor credit, no employment (which they don’t have because they are not actually from here) and many local landlords do not accept Section 8 vouchers for housing assistance because of the onerous rules and regulations that accompany accepting govnmt funds.

    In the “olden” days, housing authorities (PHAs) actually had classes on how to get jobs, present yourself to prospective landlords, clean up your credit as well as “life skills” such as balancing a check book….their “clients” had to take these classes BEFORE being certified and awarded their certificate….

    As the weather warms, the homeless numbers will increase and BLAMING local rental rates, lack of affordable housing and lack of local funding will not make up for the poor or lack of education and life skills these citizens are lacking.

  14. the City gave a single mother from MARYLAND with a MARYLAND ID $1,200 because she said she wanted to stay in CHARLOTTESVILLE….24 hours after applying, she had the CASH and was GONE!!!

    My BS detector is beeping pretty loudly here. Have you got anything to back up your claim that the city is handing out cash to random strangers?

    poor credit, no employment (which they don’t have because they are not actually from here)

    Perhaps you missed the part of the study about how they’re virtually all from here? Are you prepared to admit that you totally made this up because it sounded good at the time? (Shades of truthiness, perhaps?)

  15. I made it #1 you made it 17th does growing up here give you some special insight into the homeless problem? I’ve got some news for you #1, I was bred, born and raised around here Charlottesville, Albemarle county and I can remember when this area was a great place to live and work. Now it’s become a haven for misfits, social liberals and increasingly people who just don’t care about anything or anybody except for their own self centered selves.
    One question…Have you or anyone on this group ever known treatment or anyone talking an alcoholic out of continuing to be an alcoholic? The answer is NO. You can’t talk someone out of being an alcoholic.
    I still say let the homeless move on. We are doing way too much as a community to help them and this leads to more of their homeless friends migrating to our community and putting a drain on our tax dollars.
    Hollowboy stop worring about political correctness. That’s one of the biggest things wrong with this country now…political correctness. If you have an opinion and and it goes against the grain and want to express it then express it. You would be suprised at how many people out here have the same opinion as you do.

  16. Jogger-First let me say that I am glad to meet a native. This town indeed has changed for the worse in many ways. We can also thank the conservative for selling out our land to developers, over developing and raping the land, pushing retail and not bringing in real jobs.
    Second-Yes I have a lot of experience working with people but I am not going to say who I am.
    Third-You are correct enabling does not work, and you will not convince someone to get treatment. However, if it was offered over and over again until someone gets out of the pre-contemplation stages then you would still save the community money in the long run. You would also possibly save a persons life, and their family would be grateful. Do I need to show you the data on this? I assume that you forget about the family in your judgement of people. You just look at the person you see who has “been bad.” Well Jogger they have family, and I bet you might even know someone that has family that is homeless, or in need of help. Does that mean the person “should” suffer still?

  17. Didn’t the Reagan years also coincide with psychiatric hospitals turning many of their patients onto the streets?
    “Affordable” housing in this area seems to be meant for moderate income people like teachers and police officers. Campaigns to provide more “affordable” housing would do nothing to help the current homeless population, who, if they are employed, are not working as teachers or police officers or similar.

  18. The de-institutionalization started under the previous president, Carter. The plan was to provide a lot of support for the released people, group homes, outpatient, housing, etc. Did not happen, and with Reagan things got a lot worse. “Homelessnews” became a big thing in the news. Cities like D.C. already had it, people sleeping on grates, but it did not reach Today Show levels until the 1980s.

  19. “Homelessness” that is. Also places like SROs (single room occupancy hotel = flophouse) began to close everywhere, including here, Staunton, etc. And like Janice said above, HUD and other support at the low end declined. You could look at the last 25 years as a straight line housing squeeze from bottom to top. It started with SROs, then cheap apartments, then modest housing… reaching Belmont in 1998… then condos & McMansions, the bubble. But that could all be coincident with some other force, land is finite, and people want to live in the good places? Though I think real estate bubbled everywhere except the urban cores of the rust belt. In Detroit they’re turning whole blocks into urban gardens. (That’s a mulligan stew, not as optimistic as it sounds. The city is a donut, with bohos downtown and the middle class in the burbs, and stolen doors & ripped out copper wiring in the donut.)

  20. I kinda agree that somehow we should differentiate different groups of “homeless”. As they are completely seperate problems, the solutions will also be totally different. I’d be far more useful to speak of unemployment, addiction, mental illness, pan handling, and lack of affordable houseing as entirely seperate issues.

    I have great sympathy for the homeless, but that’s not the same as having sympathy for pan handling. Charlottesville is getting to be like D.C. where people follow you down the street shouting “hey mister, got some change”. Or they will lay entirely across public stairways and sidewalks. If you can sit on a corner begging for money, I can’t see why you can’t have a job. Heck, we could probably get local advertisers to just have them shout “Pepsi” and hold up a corporate logo instead.

    I’m not heartless though. I’m fine with using my tax money to build a fantastic homeless shelter to house all our homeless, with services for addiction treatment and those with mental illness. It can be on the edge of the county, sourounded by a lovely forest, and every time we see someone pan handling, the police can offer them them free transportation to it…

    Seriously though, Pan handling or homeless people in our public libraries and other public facilities is becoming an issue of public safety. Sure, we should do whatever we can for those down on their luck, but that that’s not the same as enabling beggers to hang out in our public spaces.

  21. Jogger:

    You wrote, “Now it’s become a haven for misfits, social liberals and increasingly people who just don’t care about anything or anybody except for their own self centered selves.”

    I think those last two items sort of cancel each other out! Liberals are people who care about the well-being of other people, whether we’re related to them, or not. (Hence our support of civil rights for gays, and programs such as WIC and foodstamps to feed families.)

    Of course, conservatives care about the well-being of other people, too, it’s just that we feel called to foster that well-being on a far-reaching scale, through our government. This is the antithesis of “people who don’t care about anything or anybody except for their own self centered selves.”

  22. Homelessness could be solved or the number of homeless could be reduced if they were made to or got jobs. Just because you lost your job at the mouse trap factory attaching springs to the mouse trap is no excuse for becoming homeless and a lout looking for free food, clothing, shelter and taxpayer dollars to support your new homeless lifestyle. Pick yourself up and get going again. Get a job any job and get out of my pocket.
    For the rest of you nuts, this is not about liberal or conservative. It’s about self respect and rejoining the human race. Too many people are homeless today because they know they can get a free ride off the taxpayers pocketbook.

  23. Lonnie, I don’t want to get all contentious and whatnot, but in your last sentence you wrote:

    “Sure, we should do whatever we can for those down on their luck, but that that’s not the same as enabling beggers to hang out in our public spaces.”

    Can I quibble with your choice of pronouns? “Our” public spaces? Isn’t a homeless person a citizen as well, and isn’t “public” supposed to be, well, public? You speak of our public spaces as if they were private, as if they were a space that “we” (the people with homes, presumably) get to control in terms of whether or not we allow “beggars” to hang out in. That seems to me the antithesis of the idea of “public.”

  24. Homelessness is a lot more complicated than simple unemployment. I’m pretty sure you need a permanent address in order to collect welfare benefits, so the homeless are not so much a drag on government resources as they are people who have fallen through the cracks and are not getting government assistance, other than from private agencies that try to help them, like the Salvation Army or Charlottesville’s PACEM.

    What kills me is how many veterans are homeless. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, (http://www.nchv.org/background.cfm ) there are 200,000 homeless veterans out there. You fight for your country and can’t even find a place to live? It’s a disgrace.

  25. Re: “Our” public spaces. Yes, these spaces do belong to us, the public. And we have the right to say what is and is not acceptable behavior in them.
    We forbid public drinking, sexual activity, littering and a host of other activities. Panhandling could be one of them. That is what Lonnie is saying.
    Like that old saying “I don’t care what people do, as long as they don’t do it in the streets and scare the horses.”

  26. Pick yourself up and get going again-the old bootstrap theory. Typical right wingnut trash talk.

    obviously no one on this blog has been homeless or near homeless. I haven’t seen so many mean spirited folks around here for awhile.

    Believe me, as a single mother who was about a day from being homeless, had to ship my son out to my brother-I don’t want to hear the bootstrap theory. Sometimes folks just need help. Sometimes folks don’t have anymore bootstraps to pull up through no fault of their own-like our veterans, which is a national shame. Mentally ill folks thrown out on the streets, forced to beg-also a national disgrace.So unless you all have walked in a homeless person’s shoes I say—well i won’t SAY what I’d like to say.

  27. I cant believe I have to come back and say this again.

    I am homeless. I work. I pay my bills. I’m law abiding, intelligent, and well mannered. I grew up here. I simply can’t afford housing (although I am in your wifi posting on y’ur blogs!!!!)

    Even when I’m out of work, there is no “free ride” at all. There is no cash being handed out to anybody. You can get food stamps (try eating on less than $100 a month without owning a refrigerator or pantry) and sometimes general assistance, which is hard to get and pays even less. If you’re lucky it’ll buy you toothpaste and deodorant. It will NOT get you an apartment.

    Thats it. In the winter you can sleep in a church basement with a few dozen drunks. If you can call that sleep. In the summer, no such luck.

    The food bank provides emergency food, which supplements the food stamp program. It is mostly expired food. I assume from grocery stores who want a tax write off?

    I can’t imagine a worse place to be homeless. Why anyone would travel here for these “services” is totally beyond me.

    Charlottesville has absolutely zero assistance in finding and securing affordable housing. I suspect this is because we have no affordable housing. A $900 a month one bedroom apartment is $10,800 a year. The 2007 HHS poverty guideline is $10,210, and the poverty threshold is $10,787. Thats what you call “mathematically impossible”.

    Hurry! Move into your gated communities quick! If the dollar keeps plummeting there will be a LOT more of us roving the streets trying to eat your brains.

    By the way, I find about 75 percent of your comments insulting, degrading, and/or hateful. Just goes to show… having a home is not a cure for ignorance and malice.

    Its sad that I cant reveal my name. There is a horrible stigma associated with this (as clearly demonstrated here). I have enough to deal with right now without bombastic judgmental simpletons adding insult to injury.

  28. “I cant believe I have to come back and say this again…” – Santa Monica awaits you.

  29. Homeless, okay then… Educate us. Do you feel it is a fair statement that homelessness is not one issue, and shouldn’t be treated as if there is one solution?

    Pretend that we are City Council. What to you propose as a solution to the problem for those like yourself? Or, do you feel it is a federal issue?

    I notice that you object to being housed with drunks. Do you identify with those “drunks” as being the same as yourself? Do you identify with the folks begging (and often harrassing people) on the corner and downtown mall? Do you resent the association of homelessness with these folks? If so, then how can we better make that distiction though our policies and attempts to help the “homeless”? I want to help people, but not enable them to lay around wasted on the sidewalk, or those who are effectively a menace to society. For that matter, I even want to help those people too, but I suspect it’s not as easy as just getting them some place to live…

    Lastly, what is the responsibilty of the individual and what is the reponsibility of society? Is it the responsibility of society to feed, house, clothe, and provide medical care for every citizen? Where does the responsibilty of society stop, and the responsibility of the individual begin? (Or does it?)

    I appologize if you are offended by any of my questions, and if you are then please educate me on why I am misinformed. The first step towards solving any problem is honest discussion, and that can be messy.

  30. Homeless in Chville may I suggest that you pack your bag and leave. If you are not happy with the way things are here then you are wasting your short life in the wrong place. Sounds to me like you have made some very serious bonehead life style decisions in the past and continue to do so.
    Lonnie stop being an apologist. This guy and probably a lot of the other homeless people in Chville and central virginia need take a real good look at themselves and start answering some very tough questions regardless of the consequences.
    Jan you need to stopy putting homelessness into either republican or democratic, liberal or conservative etc. etc. terms. You through your own life decisions and actions got your self close to the edge. Not a democrat or republican. Get over it.

  31. Good gracious you are harsh ‘jogger’. I am all for hard work,taking care of yourself, and not depending on others for everyone. I have worked hard all my life and have been fortunate to to never endure homelessness or want for any necessity.

    But wow, how can you be so general about every situation. Must everything and every situation fit into a nice neat and tidy explainable package? You don’t know ‘Homeless in cville”s situation precisely, do you? I realize and agree that there are many waifs, freeloaders, etc around here and the rest of our country, but man how can you be so harsh.

    I have been reading this blog and comments to it for a number of months now and have only responded a few times. In general I think people have opinions that are way way way too concrete, and that includes Waldo. Few things in life are black and white; at least in my experience most things are mostly gray.

  32. How to become homeless in 3 EZ steps:
    1. Lose your job
    2. Lose your health insurance
    3. Suffer a devastating accident or illness

    It could happen to almost anyone. You’re supposed to have a nest egg equal to three month’s pay in case you lose your job, but who actually has that?

  33. PatientObserver,

    Thanks for commenting. I can’t speak for other bloggers, but I know I myself probably come off more extreme on some issues than I really am. In fact, I commonly play devil’s advocate. I suspect the same might be true of some others.

    Jogger, one of the few truths I’ve learned in my limited time on earth is that almost everyone who was ever wrong, were probably all convinced that they were right. I try to keep that in mind whenever I’m feeling particularly self-justified about anything. In other words, yes, I do have an opinion and I’m not ashamed of that, but I also realize that I could be wrong. After all, it was me whom Mayor Norris rightly slammed for making the initial unproven claim that all these homeless people moved here from somewhere else.

  34. Jogger, there are plenty of people in Charlottesville right this minute that work full-time, pay their complete share of federal, state, and local taxes, and do not have any addiction problems. In all likelihood, out of this multitude, some may very well be homeless 12 months from now. Is your solution to tell them to pack their bags and leave? Where would you have them go, and how do you propose they get there? And most importantly, WHY do you think they should leave their home?

    I’m sick to death of folks beating up on the homeless. Let me guess, you’re doing it from the safety of your HOME, right? Do you also enjoy shooting ducks in a barrel for sport? Why, in God’s name, do you think it’s remotely okay to treat someone who’s down on their luck like they’re something gross you found stuck to the bottom of your shoe?

    Perhaps you’re really just railing against an aggressive panhandler that pissed you off recently. But please, don’t paint every homeless person with such a conveniently broad brush. You have absolutely no idea how any random person became homeless in the first place. Frankly, I doubt you even care enough to “edumacate” yourself further on the topic.

  35. The biggest role of government in preventing homelessness: increase the minimum wage so that it at least adjusts for inflation since its inception: about $14/hour rather than $5.85. We get to buy cheap shit at Walmart while we complain about the homeless ‘living off our tax dollars’. Brilliant.

  36. Lonnie: “Pretend that we are City Council. What to you propose as a solution to the problem for those like yourself?”

    I do not claim to have all the answers. I do know that shelters are not a solution. They may keep you from freezing to death, but thats about it. The main point of my post was that people have it all wrong. Being homeless SUCKS and people are lying about what services are available to make it sound as if its some kind of cushy “lifestyle”. I wonder if I would have been treated so harshly if I did not reveal my housing situation (or lack thereof). Probably not. I just wanted to point out that the services suck and nobody in their right mind would ever choose to live this way.

    I think there are many contributing factors. There are many paths to homelessness. In an ideal world we would identify the root socioeconomic causes and address each of them. The news/political process doesn’t have the attention span for rational solutions though. The core problem is poverty, which has many causes and many solutions.

    The only tenable solution I can think of is to lower the barriers to obtaining housing. Available low income housing to meet the demand, and assistance for those who need help applying. Charlottesville already has programs to assist people in getting work, but nothing to assist them in getting a place to live. I work, I have no place to live. Coincidence?

    How much more simple could it get? The homeless need homes. It wont help everyone. Certainly some people have addictions or mental illness or disabilities that simply prohibit them from living alone, much less supporting themselves. That is another issue altogether.

    “I notice that you object to being housed with drunks. Do you identify with those “drunks” as being the same as yourself? Do you identify with the folks begging (and often harassing people) on the corner and downtown mall? Do you resent the association of homelessness with these folks?”

    You spend a night there and you tell me if you object to being housed with them. Do I identify with them? Not really. I mean we’re all humans and I get along with some of them, some are just assholes. Some scare the hell out of me. They’re just like any other group of people in that respect. I certainly don’t identify with them in every respect because I don’t drink. I do identify with them in that we’re ultimately stuck in the same difficult situation. Do you identify with the people in your apartment building/housing development? There are drunks there too you know. The only real difference is hygiene, a couch and a TV.

    The beggars beg me. Its hilarious. I’m no different from you when it comes to this, I just have less money to not-give them is all. I respond to them the same way you do. Usually I see it coming and preemptively beg them. “come on, I can hear the change in that cup, I know you have it!”. They forget 2 minutes later when I pass by again so I’ve mostly stopped doing that. Its a waste of effort.

    What bothers me about begging (aside from the illegal harassing begging) is that a lot of these people are not homeless at all. They’re kids. The thing that pisses me off the most is not the alcoholic who needs $2 so he can keep from having an ethanol withdrawal seizure… its the gutter punk kid who’s sitting there too lazy to even beg vocally holding a sign with a cup. Hey, those are $150 leather boots you’re wearing. Why don’t you sell those and buy some food if you’re so hungry? Sorry mom and dad don’t understand your angst, but this is a very bizarre outlet for your resentment.

    You can learn a lot about a beggar from his shoes.

    I don’t know how to answer the question of if I resent the association of homelessness with those folks. If you gave them a home tomorrow, they’d still go out and beg because they still have no money. I think its more related to unemployment and/or poverty than homelessness. I see no causal link between begging and homelessness. I do not beg though. Sometimes I feel like I should, especially when they’re making more money than I am and I’m working hard. (yes, sometimes they make $50/hr)

    “Lastly, what is the responsibilty of the individual and what is the reponsibility of society? Is it the responsibility of society to feed, house, clothe, and provide medical care for every citizen?”

    Well first its the responsibility of the individual to spell responsibility right. :P I also think I have no more credentials to answer this question than anyone else just because I don’t have a big wooden/brick box and a lawn.

    Its the responsibility of society to provide opportunities, and the individual to make use of that opportunity. We are lied to in this country to believe that everyone can go to college, everyone can get a good job, everyone can have a home with 2.5 kids. Anyone can become president, etc. Its a lie. There are limited resources and growing population. The pie must be sliced up smaller and smaller. Especially as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Any overall national economic growth is completely negated by that.

    The individual’s responsibility is to do what you can when you can. I see nothing wrong with active social irresponsibility. You (personally) don’t owe me anything.

    Society must provide the following opportunities in such a way that anyone who wants them can get them should they so choose. I agree with the UN guidelines:

    * Food: Body Mass Index must be above 16. (I’m at 16.5)

    * Safe drinking water: Water must not come from rivers and ponds, and must be available nearby (less than 15 minutes walk).

    * Sanitation facilities: Toilets must be accessible in or near the home.

    * Health: Treatment must be received for serious illnesses and pregnancy.

    * Shelter: Homes must have fewer than four people living in each room. (a homeless shelter does not qualify under UN guidelines as “shelter”, brilliant)

    * Education: Everyone must attend school.

    * Information: Everyone must have access to newspapers, radios, televisions, computers, or telephones at home.

    * Access to services: This item is used to indicate education, health, legal, social, and financial (credit) services.

    “Let’s say that it was 24 hours before you were born, and a genie appeared and said, ‘What I’m going to do is let you set the rules of the society into which you will be born. You can set the economic rules and the social rules, and whatever rules you set will apply during your lifetime and your children’s lifetimes.’ And you’ll say, ‘Well, that’s nice, but what’s the catch?’ And the genie says, ‘Here’s the catch. You don’t know if you’re going to be born rich or poor, white or black, male or female, able-bodied or infirm, intelligent or retarded.'” — Warren Buffet

  37. Homeless in Chville…Affordable housing would solve all your problems, right. What type of housing are you looking for? I’m sure you can find a basement to rent or perhaps a room in a house. You want all the benefits of being middle class without the effort. Since you haven’t done anything to improve yourself all these many years what makes you feel that you or any other homeless person are so “entitled” to what most people work just as hard as you to attain? If you can list all the reasons for being homeless and how it affects you then I am sure you are smart enough to figure a way out of your situation. Just stay out of my taxpaying pocket. LOL.

  38. If we want to talk about a waste of taxpayer dollars, how about the millions (billions?) in so-called corporate welfare for companies that are already making huge profits? Why is this acceptable, but the minute there’s talk of helping people who are down on their luck, everybody screams, “unfair!”

    I agree with Elizabeth that raising the minimum wage to something it’s possible to actually live on would go a long way toward housing the employed homeless population. Of course, many people who work at minimum wage jobs are teens or dependents who don’t need to support themselves. Maybe there could be a two-tiered wage system, with people who can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s income tax getting the lower wage, and people who can’t be claimed as a dependent getting $14/hour, although that would leave us open to all sorts of abuses–employers refusing to hire people who are trying to support themselves.

  39. Why do we assume abuse of a system we haven’t put in place? We should assume complianace, since that’s what we get overwhelmingly most of the time. Assuming abuse costs us ga-zillions in lawyers and unnecessary ferreting-out of non-abusers. We assume distrust: so we get more and more of it; let’s assume compliance and that will profilerate. We’re overly prepared for the abuser/criminal: we’re rarely prepared for most honest people — the thing we’ve actually got. Preparing for abuse is a lawyaer’s game: it costs us both in civility and in money. Let’s believe and expect better. It’s simple and it’s really quite effective.

  40. Its interesting how people only become interested in the homeless when they start to ‘clutter up’ libraries and parks as the weather gets warmer the problem of homelessness will only become more visible. I agree with many of the post that say that homelessness is not one issue many people become homeless not because they are smoking crack or don’t want to work but because they cant because a car dropped on their back and they couldn’t get workmans comp but then you have ones who do smoke crack and drink but that is not everyone and you shouldn’t treat them all the same

  41. Justanotherhoo, what the f*** is so interesting about it? Is that some kind of opinion you are trying to state or just an attitude about somebody else that does have an opinion and is willing to state it? Do all your papers start out “__ is a land of many contrasts”?

  42. There are always going to be homeless issues as result of mental problems and financial issues. If you care so damn much, then take them in and care for them. Everyone is facing tighter budgets…so put up or shut up………….

  43. “Just stay out of my taxpaying pocket.”

    Wow… how original.

    I pay my taxes. I’ve paid orders of magnitude more in taxes than I have ever collected in food stamps.

    I’m not collecting ANY support from the state. I am not making use of the services of any charitable organization. I am not begging. So really, all you’re doing is making a straw man here. I’m homeless, not stupid.

    I’m sorry that your frustration over not being able to suckle Ann Coulter’s massive adams apple has driven you to such levels of misanthropy. I hope you one day gather the courage to get help for your problems.

    You can spend your entire life working for something, only to have it taken away. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake.

  44. If you care so damn much, then take them in and care for them. Everyone is facing tighter budgets…so put up or shut up………….

    So you’re posting this comment from Baghdad, right?

    (You fail at logic.)

  45. hmls n Cvll snc y clm t py txs thn y wll prbbly gt tx rfnd. prhps bth stt nd fdrl. My sggst tht y tk yr slly, stpd rgmnts bt yr hmlss sttn n c-vll nd prchs n wy bs tckt s fr wy frm c-vll s pssbl nd strt yr hmlss “crr” vr n tht nw lctn. Y’r nthng mr r lss thn “crr hmlss typ” lkng fr sympthy nd sm n t cmmsrt wth. y wll nt fnd t n m r lt f thr hrd wrkng txpyng ctzns. Scrm!!!!!!!!!!!

  46. Jogger, this hardworking taxpaying citizen asks that YOU scram, okay? And take the chip on your shoulder with you when you go.

    Lordy, that disemvowler is sweet.

  47. Its interesting how people only become interested in the homeless when they start to ‘clutter up’ libraries and parks as the weather gets warmer the problem of homelessness will only become more visible.

    No, doesn’t make me more “interested”, just more irritated at beggers which I don’t necessarily see as the same situation as being “homeless” per se.

    I’d like to take Homeless in C-ville at their word. As a moderate, I think it is an unwise use of our investments that we issue funds for the homeless without really giving a whole lot of thought to helping empower those that are indeed working and tring to improve their situation. Those folks should be our first priority. When we’ve made sure that all working people have homes then we can deal with beggers, addicts, and the assortment of other problems in our community. That said, as Patience pointed out, the money we spend on the poor is but a drop in the bucket compared to how much money we dump into corporate subsidies, most of which just flows overseas. For example, as I pointed out to a coworker, just because oil is removed from public land as less than a dollar an acre doesn’t make it “Domestic”. Once Exxon or BP has it, it is theirs and they have no responsibility to sell it back to us at a fair price, nor even to sell in here at all.

    As to how we should create affordable housing, I’m not sure how that is really possible at the local level. I do think that local government is trying their best. After all, almost every large development that has been approved recently has had proffers towards affordable housing. Of course, it is always a matter of definition as to what “affordable” really means. The city can ask people to build more apartments, but they can’t really set the price of the rent. Frankly, if I sold my home and 5 acres, I probably couldn’t afford to rent most of the so-called “affordable” housing on the market. One complaint I’ve heard about subsidized housing and vouchers is that they ultimately just inflate the price of rent since landlords realize that they can just increase the price that much more.

    Another huge problem is UVa. Because they don’t build hardly any student housing, nor require that undergrads use it, the students have taken over most neighborhoods that used to be occupied by lower income people. Plus the housing market has created a situation where the landlords and owners are more than willing to sell out so that someone can build appartments to rent to students. I don’t even begin to know how we can start to solve that problem, but city leaders who care about homelessness should make it a top priority to continue to address that situation with UVa.

    I’m sure alot of people will disagree with me on this, but I think one of the other things we can ask the federal government to do is to not bail out the companies and investors who made questionable sub-prime loans. After all, that’s what over inflated the market, and it’ll be painful for some, but part of the solution is to let housing prices fall back down to a realistic level. Some assistance and intervention is necessary, but that should be in the form of helping people who got bad loans, not the companies that issued them. Of course, even in that situation there is a limit. some people bought way more house than they could afford and we shouldn’t empower someone to keep their bad investment. The most we can do is encourage them sell the house at a loss and move into something realistic (which may have be an apartment). Without doing these things, we punish those people who did read their contracts, buy wisely, and who’ve paid their mortgage payments. In addition, a complete bail-out encourages future abuse and will ultimately result in more overpriced housing.

    As to the minimum wage, I totally agree with this
    (although I might disagree on the rate). In addition, it would be a big help to the economy. If you give lower income people more money, then statistically I’ve heard they are more likely to spend it. If we give Bill Gates a tax break then he’ll just stick it in the bank, which does the economy no good at all. Of course, the Wal-Mart problem is a bit bigger. It isn’t just the substandard wages paid over here that are the problem but also the substandard wages of the people that make the products overseas. We are a global market now. If we raise our minimum wages without pressuring companies to pay all their workers more, including those in China, then the result will just be more outsourcing. What we really need is a global minimum wage factoring in the cost of living. With the power of the WTO against us, I don’t know how we can accomplish that, but it is in our best interest to try.

    Lastly, we should ressurect the CCC, and other WPA programs. If you hand out money, then the economic benefits don’t last very long. If you pay people to build a parkway, then taxpayer’s benefit for many generations to come. We are still reaping the economic benefits of these programs. In fact, there is a real potential to create a whole “green economy” through local, state and federal programs that encourage development of Green Infrastructure.

    Oh, and yes, I know my spelling and editing are terrible. If this thing had a preview feature, then I could probably do a bit better. Sometimes I write comments up in word, then paste them in, but I’m often too lazy to do that…

  48. Waldo – I was at her “foster” parents’ house when she came in with the $$$ and heard the story about how she signed up one day and just got the money the next day….she is a legal resident of MD, with MD ID but she went to the City with a city resident so that made it OK….she was in Ch’ville and needed help.

    I’m surprised you are surprised.

  49. I don’t doubt that she said that, and I don’t doubt that you believe it, but I don’t believe it for a moment. It seems tremendously unlikely that somebody could wander into City Hall and walk out with a check for $1,200. For starters because welfare is really, really, really slow. But also because welfare programs are based entirely on vouchers — housing, food, transit, etc. — rather than the exchange of cash. Cash isn’t provided precisely because of the scenario that you outline.

    Again, I know you’re telling this story in good faith, but the person that you’re portraying is clearly unreliable in her communications with the city, so I see no reason why she shouldn’t be judged to be equally unreliable in her communications to you or her foster parents.

  50. Wasldo, don’t like anyone who has a different opinion than you? Don’t like anyone who does not speak like, act like and have your viewpoint on topics? Don’t like anyone who doesn’t look at you as the great leader of the pack? You’re the typical liberal self loathing, self deprecating, arrogrant idiot that thinks he has all the answers. Waldo this time give your head a real good SHAPE!!!!!!!!

  51. Woo hoo — ladies and gentlemen, we have disemvoweling. Now when Jogger trolls, he loses his vowels. Jogger, if you don’t like it, stop being an ass. It’s not hard.

    Man, I love the idea that I’m “self loathing,” “self deprecating” and “arrogant” all at the same time. It’s like I have superpowers.

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