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Tuesday August 4th 2020

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Homeless Crisis Requires Common Sense Solutions

Something I said

By Dwight Hobbs

There comes a point at which even bleeding heart liberalism must yield to common sense and things at Powderhorn Park in South Minneapolis have passed it.

There’s been a great deal of carping about how the city owes the homeless a place to go, the parks – not just Powderhorn – should be their sanctuary, so on and so forth. This would hold water if the encampment in the middle of a decent, peaceful neighborhood had not sordidly and violently disrupted the surrounding quality of life. The inhabitants didn’t even have to contribute to communal well being, just not drag it down into the gutter and literally endanger it.

As of this writing, crime there has gone from bad to worse. A teen aged girl was raped on June 26. Two days later, so was a woman. All told, there have been three sexual assaults; at least three that were reported. A man was shot in the face recently. Drug use has become so commonplace, neighborhood residents don’t bother to call police when they see suspected activity, including the directly related traffic of hookers hopping in and out of cars at all hours of the day and night. Junkies have been carted away in ambulances after overdosing. Home owners and rent-paying tenants who work for a roof overhead have had their windows tampered with and seen their automobiles broken into.

The Sheraton Hotel at Chicago and Lake was a homeless sanctuary before this. The owner threw them out for good reasons – drug overdoses and a fire. There are some people you just can’t help for the simple reason that they don’t want to be helped. They’ll gladly take a handout but have no interest in changing, in taking accountability to if not lead a productive life, not violate the rights of others.

Apparently, the whole endeavor was handled in ramshackle fashion from day one. Just pitch some tents to a chorus of Kumbaya and all will be well. The reality is there should have been, from the outset, screening; for addicts and for sexual predators. Not to mention people with criminal records, particularly prostitution. After all, they were not moving into a shelter but invading a locality where there are families, including children who, of course, can no longer just go play in the park, because their parents don’t dare let them. The worst tragedy is that there are, among these homeless, decent folk down on their luck who just need a hand up, or, at least, a place to figure out their next move.   For the safety and well-being of people to whom the area rightfully belongs, though, the best thing to do was go through the place with a broom and sweep it out.

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