Getting rid of homeless people is quite easy. Buy them a bus ticket to another province. Watch them ride away. Keep your fingers crossed they don’t get off the bus once they are out of your sight.
Of course, former Alberta premier Ralph Klein years ago took massive heat for proposing the idea. Florida’s governor recently liked the idea. He wasn’t shipping true homeless, the folks who set up tents beside their friends and actually live on the streets. He was shipping illegal immigrants the American federal government sent to his state after they were caught sneaking over the Mexican border. He didn’t send them back to Texas or Arizona though. He shipped “the newbies” to self-declared sanctuary cities like New York. Which of course, hated the idea. Its one thing to proclaim one’s city open to all. But when people actually start arriving, well, oops!
Besides, New York, like all North American cities, has its own local communities of homeless. They don’t like interlopers. Also, they already have strained shelters and support systems struggling to help homeless. These days, even what some might call peripheral supports like food banks, EMS, police and even street cleaners are stressed to limits. Really, it just isn’t fair to add even more people!
Vancouver last week decided to “clamp down” on homeless camps. The people were told to take their goods and move out. Tents were emptied of contents remaining, which was trashed. Same with the tents. News reports say people went back to the haunts where they came from.
Same with Edmonton. Last year kicked out an ever-growing mass of squatters near the downtown city police headquarters. The people moved back to former places several blocks away. Apparently, they like being near police. Safer from the riff raff, you know.
So are the good politicians of Edmonton, or Vancouver, or Portland, Oregon, or Los Angeles or New York having intense and meaningful discussions what long-term solutions might be? What are the roots of homeless? Why is it a growing issue?
If there are such talks, why don’t we hear more about them?
A reason might be, for the most part, outside of being horrible nuisances, homeless seem mostly harmless. Sure they might stab or rape each other once in awhile. Or leave trash, needles, and personal waste around neighbourhoods. But what the heck, it’s not really so bad!
There is something truly frightening here. Not only are there seemingly no discussions, we are treating ever more issues the same way. Try mass shootings. Every week another shooting. Then another round of justifiably weeping relatives of victims. And then of course, yet another round of circus hucksters shouting their favourite mantras of gun control, weak courts, sloppy police work, mental issues and just about anything they can think of.
Usually, politicians love kicking issues down the road, starting a study, opening talks or a combination of everything that looks like doing something.
These days? Governments hardly talk about keeping ordinary regular people safe if even just riding a bus or going shopping.