A tent city of homeless people is starting to fill up in Sacramento. It got some publicity last week on Oprah, and now several social service agencies are telling people not to "cater" to the homeless, according to MSNBC.
"It's really not a very good thing to do," says Sister Libby Fernandez, the executive director of Loaves & Fishes. "For one thing, you have to have trash pickup. You bring things out there like clothing, suitcases food, water ... it just builds up an accumulation of trash."
As many as 50 people a week are turning up and the authorities estimate that the tent city is now home to more than 1,200 people, the Daily Mail reported.
What are people and cities supposed to do? The city is thinking about providing some services on the site -- portable toilets, for instance -- but a TV station looked into another tent city in Ontario, California and found as soon as the city did that, people from out of the area moved in.
(Photo via Getty Images)
People want to help others in need with food, water, etc. and authorities are concerned about the trash?? I guess technically I understand the trash/sanitation concern, but isn't it a distant second to providing basic necessities?
Don't you think the sudden appearance of tent cities points to the inadequacy of current social services and lack of better ones? Either the people in the tent cities don't know how to access these services, are too ashamed to do so, or did not receive sufficient help from social services. Very sad, regardless of the reason.
I read an article a little while ago about an inventor who came up with a sort tent/cart thing that would provide basic shelter for the homeless, and wanted to give them away. But he wasn't allowed.
"Will municipal codes allow users to park their units anywhere? What about constitutional questions and not-in-my-backyard complaints?
Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Irvine School of Law, said police fear the units could constitute dwellings where inhabitants would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. In that scenario, police would need warrants to search EDARs, which could become havens for drug use or prostitution. Chemerinsky maintains that cities could allow the units in designated public places as long as users consented to be searched, much like travelers entering an airport."
It's a complicated issue. Compassion and basic human rights are on the side of letting these tent cities be, but how do you stop them from turning into the worst kind of dangerous slums, in the long run?
Don't give the "tent city" residents toilets
that have to be flushed.....they wouldn't want
that much responsibility.
I've been pretty low in my life time, meaning
having to ask for a penny here and there just
to have money to ride a bus or street car to
work. People were always generous....they
knew I was going to work!
Wash rooms to wash in. Salvation Army for
clean clothes. Thrown away newspapers that
have ads in them. I don't know, I really
think I could "make it" again if need be.
If, on the other hand, you're counting brain
cells, some of these people have not been
graced at birth with the number necessary to
survive.....those are the ones who need to be
weeded out and helped. NOT ever Tom, Dick
and Mary with their hand out.
ALWAYS help the children. If that means their
mom or dad need to be helped, then of course,
do that, but with rules for the parents, not
the children. I believe children would know
what's expected of them.