It looks like people are getting fed up with the urban camping set.
Homelessness activists have lectured Americans about how they should learn to live with the large tent encampments of their “unhoused neighbors” on sidewalks and in parks. They have derided as bigotry observations that these encampments spawn violence. They have argued that the camps would disappear only when every unsheltered person receives permanent, subsidized housing, which even the most optimistic admitted would take years or decades.
Americans have stopped listening to the activists. Citizens and politicians of all stripes have recently taken steps to pass or enforce laws against public encampments, often in the same locales that once embraced a housing-only approach. They have begun to realize that the activists’ promises that encampments would be abandoned once the government provided enough handouts and housing were a mirage.
About damn time.
People in these cities (urban camping isn’t really a problem here in the Valley, but even Anchorage has this problem) are waking up to the fact that most of the urban outdoorsmen aren’t honest folks who are just down on their luck, nor are they stand-up working class people tossed aside by the evils of capitalism. Most of them are addicts to one substance or another, be it meth or heroin or booze; many of them are on the streets by choice, especially in those jurisdictions that support them financially.
And the people who live in those cities are, justifiably, getting sick of it. They are sick of being unable to go out at night. They are sick of stepping over poop, discarded needles and lakes of urine during the day. They are sick of the thievery, the breaking and entering, the vandalism, and the smell. And now they’re making their voices heard.
Americans understand that the homeless deserve compassion and dignity, but they also know that nothing is less compassionate or dignified than letting people die slowly in illegal encampments. They refuse to accept that these camps, almost unknown to American cities as recently as two decades ago, are an inevitable part of urban life—and they are pushing back.
As I said – about damn time.