Monday, September 24, 2012

Homeless Population

I'm sick today. I started to feel sick on Thursday night. A week ago last Friday on the 14th, I decided to ride on the bus and visit the Seattle Art Museum, one of my favorite places. When I came out I noticed a homeless woman sitting at the side next to the building. She asked me for money. I didn't have dollar bills in my pockets. I usually make sure I put dollar bills in my pockets when I am downtown. She asked for money for sanitary napkins. I said I didn't have change and that I was sorry. She lunged forward and grabbed my shoulders. I was scared. She said, "look into my eyes." I thought, Oh, no, I'm going to get sick. She was obviously sick. She spit mucus on the front of my blouse and was close to my face. I wanted to push her away and run. Then I thought, I'm not a good person because I don't want to hug her. I thought of all the Peace Corps volunteers and Doctors Without Borders who signup for this stuff to be around people who are sick and need help. I like to stay in the safety zone.I don't consider myself better than her. I'm having money trouble too. A few twists and I could be sitting on a corner. It was an awful experience. I honestly don't understand why cities don't help people who are homeless.

The solution isn't easy but allowing this kind of onslaught isn't fair. The best solution for the homeless I have ever seen is a model I heard about used in Woodburn, Oregon for migrant workers. There was a large apartment building and all services were on site. Help was given until they were ready to get jobs and housing. Why can't the homeless populate an isolated area and become totally self sufficient with services onsite. They can garden and grow their own food. They can build their own houses with volunteer help. I've always thought that Habitat for Humanity should also help the homeless by building apartment buildings or structures for more people. I saw a great design in the Seattle Times by a German architect who built small houses or cubicles for one person that could work.

Land developers who profit from developing areas with public money should start paying for their own developments plus helping out the community by building housing for the homeless. I've always been amazed that developers who will profit use public money to build structures. Seattle does it better because there is better negotiation but still............. This is a time that you can leverage and negotiate for what you want city fathers. Use it to fix some of your problems. Nobody listens to me though or cares what I think.

The point is that what is being done isn't working. This makes me want to avoid going on the bus downtown, to be honest. I want to safely go to the Art Museum, the library, Science Center, the Aquarium.

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