Monday, March 19, 2012

Street People

Like everywhere else we have our share of homeless street people. Mental illness knows no boundaries. We have shelters, like The Brother Francis run by the Catholics, and a couple of others, but lots of our street people are chronic alcoholics and, since you have to be sober to stay at the shelters, they don’t

 A few years ago Camps sprung up all over in the woods around town. Every once in a while the cops would clear up a camp area, while ignoring another camp turning up somewhere else.

Then a couple of winters ago frozen dead homeless people were showing up all around town, so when the leaves began to fall off the trees, the cops moved in and started clearing out the camps, thinking that would move the homeless into the shelters.

Clear out a few of the camps the cops did, rousting out the dwellers and throwing out everything they couldn’t use as evidence.

One homeless fellow that still had his whit’s about him was approached the ACLU, who sued the city and won, because even here in laska homeless people still have rights and even if you are the cops you can’t just trash a mans only possessions of a tent, sleeping bag, and cook pot.

The court battle took awhile and another cold winter found 15 or so frozen dead homeless people just aboot everywhere here in Anchorage.  The ruling t bag (taliban) party was outraged. They lost the court battle. They would have to come up with a policy to deal with the homeless!

Notices would have to be posted in the camps giving the residents 15 days to move. Any stuff left could be claimed at the police officers station within 30 days, and after that it would be destroyed. Fair enough!

The best thing to happen out of all of this, was that the City’s homeless committee found that in other cities that have chronic alcoholic homeless, the thing that works best is to house them and let them drink.

 Rural Cap probably with federal government money purchased an abandoned hotel and proposed to house chronic homeless alcoholics there.

The not in my back yard people stood against the idea, and of course the taliban party said if we could just drill for more oil and give them drunks jobs they would be ok.

 Eventually we got Karluk Manor, and. This winter no one has been found frozen under a park bench, but that could change when all the snow melts. Less drunken homeless people are stumbling in and out of traffic. No vast expanses of public property are being used for homeless camps.
This winter two people have died from chronic alcoholism in their rooms at Karluck Manor. That is way more dignity than under the picnic table on the park strip.

Housing at the Manor is proving to be less expensive than picking up wandering drunks. Violence against the homeless is diminished. This is a win win situation, and appears to be working

Hobbled Homeless Man In Full Winter Reflective Plumage

 The housing program is working so It took me by surprise when I found a human lying on the corner of 10 and Eagle.
It was no surprise that other people passed by and did nothing, even people leaving their house.
 I didn’t want to call 911 but I was at work, and then I thought that if when I got home this evening if there was a body lying on the corner that I would go check it out.

Soo 911 dispatcher Where is the location of your emergency

Me 10th and Eagle

911 What is the nature of your emergency?

Me Male Human lying in the street, appears to be breathing I suspect intoxication. 

911 Race of the individual

That question irritated me, it certainly is asked just for statistics; so I answered Male, light colored skin, beard, and Carhart jacket

911 Thank you and your name please….

It must have been a slow day as the police were there right away.

The officer got the fellow up, cuffed him and gave him a ride in the back seat of the police car. .

I saw the same fellow a few days later panhandling in midtown. I did the right thing, and not leaving people passed out in the street is what makes, a town a community.

Take that Taliban T Bags.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your story. We have a similar issue in Phoenix during the hot season (half the year) - people die of dehydration and heat stroke and our "employed" folks just step over them in downtown.

    I'm not sure why anyone would think a chronic alcoholic could stop drinking while they were still on the streets. Or that rounding up homeless people and sending them "away" would make everything OK.

    You did the right thing in calling the cops. You're right, we don't leave our neighbors (even our homeless neighbors) laying unconscious on the sidewalk if we want to live in a civilized community. I just wish there were other options than the cops, so they could actually get services ...