As a formerly homeless person working with Sgt. Ross's HOST program, I have
seen some business owners and residents approach her to learn more, in hopes of
being part of the solution. If more people in the neighborhood offered solutions
and were willing to help, rather than simply complaining or being fearful, I
think we would start solving problems. Most of the people you see in the park
are just that-people like you and I that need our help to overcome their
misfortune.Reach out to your neighbor on the street. Donate goods,
services, and time. Smile and ask, "What can we do to help you?" A
little compassion will go far to help our community's families and
individuals who are experiencing homelesseness.
While working with Sgt. Ross's HOST program, I have seen a few business
owners and residences speak with her about their concerns, hopefully in hopes of
finding mutual solutions. If more people in the neighborhood sought answers
rather than simply complaining, I think we would help many more of the people
who frequent the park, and its surrounding residents. Long before
there was ever a shelter or a clinic in the neighborhood, it was a known area
for drug trafficking. Blaming homeless people for this problem is a desperate
blanket solution. As a formerly homeless person, I can attest that other
homeless people are not the sole purchasers of drugs in this area. Patrons from
nearby clubs, businesses, and residences are also to blame for creating
demand.Show a little compassion and propose solutions. work with the
programs and agencies that are trying to help homeless people. Donate goods,
services and time. Reach out you hand to your fellow man. Smile and say,
"Hello. Is there anything I can do to help you?" A little compassion can
go a long way.
It is a human problem that all cities have with indigent people. However, some
cities are much more accomodating welcoming and tolerant of such people.
Therefore I suggest that when winter hits, and it gets really cold, offer free
bus trips to sunny Southern California and in particular, Santa Monica, where I
used to live myself. They have plenty of free food, shelter ect. and great
weather year round. No need for bundles of winter clothing. Once there, I doubt
many would return as the very progressive attitude of Santa Monica along with
lots of money and programs would be a safe haven for the homeless. Cynical yes,
but I'm serious. Move them to where they will be more accepted and taken
care of, and let's clean up the mess in Pioneer Park and make it safe for
all. A win win.
P.S. I believe that SLC is notoriously recognized as "hobo haven" for
the wonderful provisions available to people. I don't know if we need to do
anything differently, but maybe make people more aware of what they can do to
better their situation. Homelessness is a tragic subject and I discuss it
sensitively, but anything that requires more money involvement would not make
much of a difference if certain individuals do not take the initiative to
utilize the resources available.
Perhaps I did not read this article very well because I fail to see what steps
are suggested to implement in order to reduce permanent homeless activity in
SLC. I work downtown and observe the issue on a first-hand basis with the
thoughts of wanting to assist individuals that are truly in need, but feeling
that it is often better to "teach someone how to fish" than just
"giving the person a fish" with an expectation of improved results. I
tend to offer satisfaction of physical needs (i.e. offering leftover food from
lunch if asked for money) instead of just giving them money with no knowledge of
its use. Perhaps I will also advise them of how to register for unemployment
assistance or the nearest located rehabilitation center. I make this a
responsibility to know, but wished it was more commonly understood so that we
can identify those that are struggling and present their options to them.
Re: " The junkies need to be rounded up and rehabilitated."Just so's you know -- we've already tried that. ant times. Two weeks
later, they're back in the park.It's not that
conservatives are averse to spending money. We just hate to flush it down the
liberal toilet du jour.
The park is not the problem. And if you just crack down in the park... the
problem will just go somewhere else (other street corners, other neighborhoods,
etc). We have to deal with the problem. And no... money is not the problem.
Irony Guy,With you the solution to EVERYTHING is... more money.Money doesn't solve all problems.Even if you throw more money
at rehabilitating everybody in Pioneer Park... you could spend infinite money on
it and not change anything until the person WANTS to be rehabilitated.
The situation has driven good businesses out of the area. It's past time to
get tough and tender at the same time. The junkies need to be rounded up and
rehabilitated. Of course, that would require spending money on rehabilitation
services, which conservatives would never countenance. All they're
interested in is jails.
Re: "The challenge facing Salt Lake City government is to avoid falling into
a state of resignation and accepting the situation as permanent."Too late. That occurred 30 years ago.Gutless liberal
administrations will never find a way to do what's necessary to resolve the
problem and return the real people of Salt Lake that pay so dearly for its
Well said Midvaliean. Addressing the problem with a bandaid won't fix
anything. Get at the root of the problem. The churches and the social services
and the families in the area need to step up and think outside the box. All of
the typical solutions for this type of problem sound like Chicago and
Detroit's approaches from 30 years ago. They didn't work so well then
and they won't work so well now.
Pioneer Park has always been where you go to get heroin and cocaine (since I was
a kid at least). If you move them out of the park they disperse into the
streets. There is a homeless shelter next door. Problem many of us have
is I don't want to waste tax-payer money to arrest all these folks, many
who have mental illness it would seem, and house them in jail. Maybe its
time to think outside of the box.