Musings on the homeless situation in Eugene, Oregon

The guest was a Eugene, Oregon businessman, tired of having to clean up human excrement and needles in front of his business every morning.  He said Eugene is a magnet for the homeless.  They aren't hassled by law enforcement, and they receive all kinds of free goods and services.  He said attempts by authorities to crack down are met by social advocates with loud voices.

He told of an occasion where he let two homeless folks into his business in the middle of the day to get out of the cold.  Business was slow, only a few customers.  The few customers gave him a thumbs up and praised him for his compassion.  After a couple of hours, business started to pick up, and customers were coming in, so he went to the two homeless folks and told them they had to leave.

The few customers then raised their voices, protesting, asking him to let them stay.  So he said to one of the few customers, "Thank you for your concern.  Could one of you help me get them to your car so you can take them to your home?"  He said they became quiet and soon left.

In Veneta, where I live, some years ago, we had a guy who would hang around businesses with a big knife strapped to his belt, very intimidating.  Later I saw him and others sunning themselves under some trees on a vacant lot.  I learned through the grapevine that the homeless had gone to the city and proposed that if the city would leave them alone, they would, in turn, not bother anybody — no panhandling, no hanging around businesses, etc.  As of today, it seems to be working.

Some years back, the director of the Eugene Mission was being interviewed on the radio.  He said the people on the street with signs saying they need help are not looking for help, but rather for money to fuel their drug and alcohol addictions.  Anyone who really needs help can find it at the Eugene Mission.  The requirement of the Mission is that the folks be off drugs and alcohol during their stay.  The director says he occasionally goes out on the street and interviews the panhandlers, and they readily admit they can't give up their addictions, that any money they get goes thereto.

All I know is the wisdom of the old saying, "The reason I work is so I can live indoors and eat."  As soon as folks figure out they can get those things without working is when it all falls apart.  I marvel at those who love to ask taxpayers for more money so they can build and maintain facilities to feed, clothe, and house the homeless.

I'm sorry, but when the goodies dry up is when the problem dries up.  Yes, the truly down on their luck through no fault of their own, we help.  Addicts, we don't help.  Simple as that.  Addicts, of course, will then take to law-breaking, as they do now, to fund their habits — in which case we incarcerate them.  As long as it takes.  One way or the other, they are off the streets.

Image: Lauram12345 via Wikimedia Commons.

The guest was a Eugene, Oregon businessman, tired of having to clean up human excrement and needles in front of his business every morning.  He said Eugene is a magnet for the homeless.  They aren't hassled by law enforcement, and they receive all kinds of free goods and services.  He said attempts by authorities to crack down are met by social advocates with loud voices.

He told of an occasion where he let two homeless folks into his business in the middle of the day to get out of the cold.  Business was slow, only a few customers.  The few customers gave him a thumbs up and praised him for his compassion.  After a couple of hours, business started to pick up, and customers were coming in, so he went to the two homeless folks and told them they had to leave.

The few customers then raised their voices, protesting, asking him to let them stay.  So he said to one of the few customers, "Thank you for your concern.  Could one of you help me get them to your car so you can take them to your home?"  He said they became quiet and soon left.

In Veneta, where I live, some years ago, we had a guy who would hang around businesses with a big knife strapped to his belt, very intimidating.  Later I saw him and others sunning themselves under some trees on a vacant lot.  I learned through the grapevine that the homeless had gone to the city and proposed that if the city would leave them alone, they would, in turn, not bother anybody — no panhandling, no hanging around businesses, etc.  As of today, it seems to be working.

Some years back, the director of the Eugene Mission was being interviewed on the radio.  He said the people on the street with signs saying they need help are not looking for help, but rather for money to fuel their drug and alcohol addictions.  Anyone who really needs help can find it at the Eugene Mission.  The requirement of the Mission is that the folks be off drugs and alcohol during their stay.  The director says he occasionally goes out on the street and interviews the panhandlers, and they readily admit they can't give up their addictions, that any money they get goes thereto.

All I know is the wisdom of the old saying, "The reason I work is so I can live indoors and eat."  As soon as folks figure out they can get those things without working is when it all falls apart.  I marvel at those who love to ask taxpayers for more money so they can build and maintain facilities to feed, clothe, and house the homeless.

I'm sorry, but when the goodies dry up is when the problem dries up.  Yes, the truly down on their luck through no fault of their own, we help.  Addicts, we don't help.  Simple as that.  Addicts, of course, will then take to law-breaking, as they do now, to fund their habits — in which case we incarcerate them.  As long as it takes.  One way or the other, they are off the streets.

Image: Lauram12345 via Wikimedia Commons.