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Hopeless Homeless Situation?
 by Frank Shortt

Each year millions of dollars are donated to charitable organizations who proclaim that they are the ones who are solving the homeless problem in America. Each day, our household is inundated with expensive brochures asking us to help one organization or the other. If we helped them all, even with a small amount, we would have no money for food, clothing, or shelter. Our landfills are being filled to overflow with all these brochures containing toxic ink and, sometimes, plastic covers that will never deteriorate. The homeless situation still exists!

There are organizations who, bless their hearts, have chosen to lavish millions of dollars on animals. Don’t they see that the human need is greater than the animal need? There are dog owners who spend thousands each year to insure the health of their little Peekapoo, when their own children are running around with runny noses, probably because of the shedding of dander all over the house. Also, when dogs and cats go outside, they sniff everything they see, especially, where other animals have relieved themselves. Then the animal comes back into the house and kiss their children. Which disease did your own animal bring into your house? Should not animal rights groups allow their charity to begin with less fortunate humans then give what is left to the animals? While being raised on a hillside farm in Virginia, we were pretty poor. We fed the pets our leftover food and the remnants of the milk that we didn’t drink. In turn, the cats caught all the mice and rats in the barn and our dogs helped us to hunt wild animals for food, usually the only meat we ever ate.

Our government, bless its heart, has tried many means to help our less fortunate citizens in the past. They have set up homeless shelters, which the homeless refuse to use saying that they prefer to stay on the streets. They have provided food stamps for the less fortunate, which has become the largest graft problem in America at this time. I have seen, with my own eyes, so-called parents take these food stamps that would feed their children, and trade them for some type of narcotic because they are addicts. Yet, our government keeps raising taxes to help feed the poor, provide shelter for the homeless, and clothe the needy. Where will this all end?

The state of California, since I came here in 1964 and became a resident, has raised taxes on everything we buy in order to provide food, shelter, and clothing for the less fortunate. They have also raised taxes each year, or thereabouts, to build fast transportation from one city to another. This is so a person can rob a bank in San Francisco in the morning and be in San Diego that evening for an escape across the border until the heat is off. Who is to stop him? So much money has been taken up, through taxes, that twenty high-speed trains could have been bought, had not the State chosen to allot the money for some other high-emergency problem. By this time, all the homeless in the State of California could have been living on a train, being fed three squares a day, and never have to set a foot on the ground. What is California thinking? Do they think the poor sheep, better known as taxpayers, are going to stand for this type of thinking much longer? They have fleeced us enough by playing on our better natures, soft heartedness, and using the law to fleece us more!

Each time I go to a shopping center, I am approached by people with homeless signs, also, religious organizations who pretend to be helping hungry children. There’s a host of other organizations trying to raise enough money so they do not have to do an honest day’s work. I have offered to take these so-called homeless people to a restaurant and buy them some food. They suddenly become angry with me that I don’t dole out some money to them so they can pay for whatever habit they are trying to support. Sometimes I get a taker. What is a poor, honest, taxpayer to do? I have interviewed many so-called homeless individuals about the problem, and their standard answer is, “We just want to be free to do whatever we choose and have enough money to buy our wine, etc. to keep us warm at night!” My question is, “Where does their freedom end and where do they begin to become a hindrance to society?” There are centers for mental health, centers for drug addiction, and centers to take those less fortunate off the streets paid for by our tax dollars! All they need do is choose to do it! Sometimes mental health prevents this! Why this sudden surge in mental health problems?

Local law enforcement officers even offer rides to shelters for street people when the temperatures are predicted to drop suddenly. There are those who refuse to go to shelter saying, “I’m free to do whatever I want to do!” The law enforcement officers are powerless (by law) to compel them to go to the shelter, even for their own safety and comfort. This was on the news in San Jose just recently. Of course, the homeless are right! They have the right to stay on the street and freeze to death when they could have a shower, warmth, and a bed for the night. What galls me is that some politician will suddenly step up, after one is found dead, and declare that it is our responsibility to do more for the homeless. He then gets elected because he makes empty promises, never to be fulfilled, and rests easy for at least four years while the weary taxpayer foots the bill! What a shame on America! Why were all our mental institutions in California closed in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s? This is when crime increased enormously and we began to see more homeless in California. Most of these were former patients in the mental wards! I am a witness to this, having volunteered at a Rescue Mission for 15 years or more.

When my daughter was about five years old, she just simply refused to eat. My wife and I fretted and stewed for quite a while, then out of frustration, decided to take her to her pediatrician. Dr. Hansen examined her, giving her all the tests he knew about, and then declared, “She is plenty healthy, when she goes out to play, stuff an oatmeal/raisin cookie into her sweater pocket! When she gets hungry, she’ll eat the cookie and have plenty of nourishment!” This was great advice then, and is great advice now, for the homeless! If they get cold enough outside or hungry enough, they will come in out of the cold and accept whatever is offered at the homeless shelter. I am not against helping the homeless! I am simply trying, although mostly unheard, to make suggestions to end this plague once and for all! Our legislators are using a band-aid approach without taking all options into account!