Monday, April 24, 2017

Disparities in Life....

My wife had to supervise the junior/senior prom Saturday night in San Francisco.  The ASB students chose the Design Center as this year's location.  As we exited Vermont Street, I was absolutely overwhelmed by the number of homeless encampments set up along Vermont Street and other nearby streets.  There were easily 40 "tents" along the streets that was the "housing" for these people.  Then, one block over, nothing but excess.  Students pulling up in stretched limousines or party buses, dressed to the nines.  Don't get me wrong - I am glad that students are able to celebrate their high school years with such an amazing event.  However, the disparity in wealth really got to me and made me think...."How can we combat this homeless challenge?"

I know the current administration won't do anything to help the homeless.  And quite frankly, I am not sure what past administrations have done either.  The homeless situation is one that is not only hard to comprehend, but one that will require such an intense and in-depth program that cannot lose funding in order to remedy the situation.  

I've often said that people need to help themselves before receiving help - or should I rephrase with, "people need to want to be helped."  Perhaps this situation may even come down to values.  Some of the homeless are so down and out that they may be past the point of no return.  They have succumbed to this life style and it has become all they know.

What would a program look like that would help these unfortunate individuals?  And in the Bay Area economy?  How can we create a program that provides housing, meals and basic health care in exchange for productive work?  

I know every situation is unique.  I am quite confident that these homeless individuals did not wake up one day and say, "I think I'll live in a tent along Vermont Street tonight, freeze my ass off, and beg for food."  Ummm, how to remedy....  How do we get others to care?  I wish I had the answer.

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