Are we on the right path in helping the homeless?

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There are no black and white answers when dealing with the homeless population in our cities and communities, but there are ways to help them get a helping hand in getting back on their feet and living productive lives again. There has been much debate going on in the community, and a bit of mutiny against its recent temporary yet strict ordinances on panhandling and the sharing of food in public.

There are no black and white answers when dealing with the homeless population in our cities and communities, but there are ways to help them get a helping hand in getting back on their feet and living productive lives again. There has been much debate going on in the community, and a bit of mutiny against its recent temporary yet strict ordinances on panhandling and the sharing of food in public.

On the mutiny side, it is good to see good-hearted people physically opposing the band against sharing food in public and the response is remarkable in how many people are supporting these rallies for the homeless in El Cajon’s parks. Keep up the good work. As this is the season for giving, it is heartening to see people act on what they believe is the right thing to do.

I have noticed, since my office is in the heart of downtown El Cajon, the gathering of homeless people that there are not nearly as many hanging around in the alleys and local shops. And this is an important thing to remember. Homeless are people, not a thing to be dealt with. There is a huge difference in which set of mind you approach the topic. What I have noticed though, as I travel through East County is that they are just moving. Going through Rancho San Diego almost every day on my way to work, I find that where I would see one or two homeless people intermediately, I now see larger groups that are hanging around the mini-malls that make up this neighborhood. So these ordinances, so far as I can tell so far are not helping the homeless people, they are driving them out and making them someone else’s problem.

This has been the case in the county for years now and downtown San Diego is a prime example of developing and forcing the homeless from the only places that they can find to sleep, eat and gather together. They are a community, like it or not, and there has to be a better solution in dealing with them than driving them out and forcing the problem on another community.

Cities, like El Cajon, need to focus more on working with local charities that are positioned to help people that have nowhere to call home, or only have a car to sleep in. The face of the homeless population has changed dramatically over the years. Although there is no denying the drug and mental illness problems that exist in the homeless population, it is no longer just drunks. drug addicts and the mentally ill. And the opioid epidemic is as widespread with people that homes to live in as in the homeless population.

This community is filled with veterans, families, young children, pets and all of the things that we normally would consider a contribution to family and community, yet because they have fell on hard times, they are all lumped into one stereotype, the homeless. The way things are going, the problem will get worse before it gets better especially when government, people and communities react rather than act.

If we want to solve the problem, then we need to get involved in supporting the programs and services that can help solve it, as much as it can be. Relying on laws to regulate and ostracize these people is not the solution. It is a major part of the problem.

“What we would like to do is change the world-make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended for them to do. And, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of workers, of the poor, of the destitute…we can, to a certain extent, change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever-widening circle will reach around the world. We repeat, there is nothing that we can do but love, and, dear God, please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as well as our friend.”

 –Dorothy Day

American Social Worker, Pacifist

1972 Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award

National Women’s Hall of Fame

Gandhi Peace Award Winner

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