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Harbor House full during economic downturn

Wednesday, December 24, 2008 | 12:58 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — It's a quarter to five at the Salvation Army Harbor House, and the cafeteria is already filling up for dinner.  Green cots are stacked in the lobby, waiting for the flood of people who will be seeking a warm bed in Columbia for the night. 

Harbor House was forced to turn away nearly 700 requests for shelter in the last three months, said director Jim Chapman.  As jobs disappear and the temperature continues to drop in mid-Missouri, Harbor House is at capacity. 

Staff members say the people coming through the doors aren't necessarily the ones you might expect.

"It's not limited to what you think of as 'the poor,'" Chapman said.  "That's the old picture."  He estimates that at least half the residents have some kind of labor skill.

"We've got brick layers, mechanics, truck drivers," he said.  Some residents never made it past the third grade but others are college educated, he said, and one has a doctorate degree.

Flo Osborn, a case manager at the Salvation Army’s headquarters, said half the people she sees every day are new faces.  They work in industries such as health care, retail, manufacturing and service.  She attributes the high rate of “first timers” to job loss in the community.

One resident sits on the curb outside Harbor House, reading "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" as he waits for a bus.  He is originally from Missouri but has spent time all over the country.  After losing his manufacturing job in Michigan, he made his way south through Indiana and Kentucky, looking for work.  He landed in Columbia this summer and has been at Harbor House ever since.

Inside Harbor House, a young woman talks on the phone in the hallway, holding a baby on her hip.  A toddler runs across the lobby, two huge Incredible Hulk foam gloves on his hands.

Staff member Kate Highland said a number of children have been living at Harbor House, ranging from tiny babies to teenagers.

Nocomus Peal, a Columbia resident who moved in a month ago, is the mother of two of Harbor House's teens. Peal’s children are 14 and 15. 

A proud parent, Peal can’t help bragging about her children.  “They do so well in school,” she said. She is adamant about seeing them get an education.  “They’re going to graduate, and they’re going to college,” she said.

Peal lived in Harbor House briefly in 2004 before moving into a house.  After she had a stroke and fell on hard times, she landed back at Harbor House. 

“When I came here from the hospital, I had one bag of clothes.  That was it,” she said. 

Peal, who is unable to work because of her health, is waiting to see if she qualifies for Social Security disability benefits.  “They always deny you the first time,” she said. 

Harbor House requires residents who are physically able to work to apply to four jobs a week.  Those unable to work spend 20 hours a week volunteering in the community or at the Salvation Army thrift store.  Peal pitches in at Harbor House by serving meals, which she says she enjoys.

Salvation Army Regional Director K. Kendall Matthews said the center is not focused on giving handouts to the people it serves.  “They’re not just sitting around, twiddling their thumbs,” he said.

Matthews says he prefers to hire bell ringers instead of using volunteers because it gives someone a job.  Providing someone a paycheck, even for ringing the Salvation Army bell, strengthens the economy and offers re-entry into the work world, he said.

Chapman also stressed that Harbor House offers more than shelter.  In addition to providing emergency housing for up to 30 days and transitional housing for as long as two years, residents receive skill training and assistance finding jobs.  There is also a recovery program for drug and alcohol addiction.

“My task is to help them get out of here and be self-sufficient,” Chapman said.


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Comments

Charles Dudley Jr December 24, 2008 | 1:48 p.m.

In these grave economic times this scene will be repeated thousands upon thousands of times across this entire nation.

It is not going to get any better until something is done about our economy but in reality can we as a nation truly recover from the last 8 years of a steady downtrend of what was once one of the top five economies of the world if memory serves me correctly.

Alot of do hold hope in Mr Obama being able to put our much needed citizens back to work in positions they are skilled in and to once again rebuild what was dwindled away.

Only time will tell and it will be a very long and tiresome road ahead.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 24, 2008 | 2:27 p.m.

Lots of job openings, both skilled and unskilled, listed in the Sunday Tribune and on the city Web site, to name just a few places.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 24, 2008 | 3:03 p.m.

Ayn Rand sure lots maybe taking applications but that is no guarantee of a job being you have 10k other people applying for those same jobs.

Lots of companies put out applications so they can just see who is actually out there and might on a slim chance be actually qualified or over qualified and then they might choose or not chose that individual.

It is call "job application review farming" and all companies do it.

Just because it is in the paper does not mean anybody will actually get hired. That is fact.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 24, 2008 | 3:58 p.m.

I seriously doubt that there 10K or even 100 applicants for most openings here. If that were the case, I wouldn't see some openings posted for a month or longer. That tells me those companies are having a tough time finding qualified applicants.

There is work out there for those willing to work. But some people believe that some jobs are beneath them, while others are willing to sponge off of the rest of us. There is a word for individuals and organizations that enable such people: suckers.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 24, 2008 | 4:07 p.m.

If Harbor House had to turn down 700 requests for help, I hope they have a great information and referral program so that these people won't be left hanging.

It's winter again and the problem of homelessness and joblessness and poverty comes forward, in the news, again.

What are our churches doing, what is our local government doing, what is United Way doing?

"Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?"

The Trib Board News Forum has had a running thread on the "tent cities" phenomena and now that it's winter, what is to become of these people?

For example:
Sep 18, 1:03 PM EDT
In hard times, tent cities rise across the country
By EVELYN NIEVES
Associated Press Writer
RENO, Nev. (AP) -- A few tents cropped up hard by the railroad tracks, pitched by men left with nowhere to go once the emergency winter shelter closed for the summer.
Within weeks, more than 150 people were living in tents big and small, barely a foot apart in a patch of dirt slated to be a parking lot for a campus of shelters Reno is building for its homeless population. Like many other cities, Reno has found itself with a "tent city" - an encampment of people who had nowhere else to go.
"The economy is in chaos, we're in an unofficial recession and Americans are worried, from the homeless to the middle class, about their future."
The phenomenon of encampments has caught advocacy groups somewhat by surprise, largely because of how quickly they have sprung up.
In Reno, officials decided to let the tent city be because shelters were already filled.
Officials don't know how many homeless people are in Reno. "But we do know that the soup kitchens are serving hundreds more meals a day and that we have more people who are homeless than we can remember," said Jodi Royal-Goodwin, the city's redevelopment agency director.
Those in the tents have to register and are monitored weekly to see what progress they are making in finding jobs or real housing. They are provided times to take showers in the shelter, and told where to go for food and meals.
Out of a dozen people interviewed in the tent city, six had come to Reno from California or elsewhere over the last year, hoping for casino jobs.
The casinos are actually starting to lay off employees.

***I say: We should not turn a "blind eye" or "deaf ear" to any of these people/families in need of help. As a community and individuals we can find our own unique ways to improve this situation.

The reasons for their plight vary. Understanding why and how they got to be in this situation may help in the long run. (In Columbia, we have plenty of food and clothes.) Right now they need "shelter from the storm."

Even a "manger" would work.***

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 24, 2008 | 4:20 p.m.

All good points ray shapiro.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 24, 2008 | 4:20 p.m.

As a society, we need to distinguish people who are in a bind through no fault of their own and the bums described at http://columbiatribune.com/2008/sep/2008...

"On Aug. 29, I stopped down at the Loaves and Fishes - what they call the soup kitchen. I was looking for a couple of young men to help me do some moving on some heavy things; I would pay them a decent wage. I got turned down. I got asked for cigarettes, spare change, even got propositioned by a lady for favors. The people who support that and everything, I think those people sitting around there or laying around there doing nothing, sitting at tables, drinking coffee, eating food, should be out there working. I think they ought to take their food stamps away and make them get out there and clean up places like Douglass Park and things like that. Get them off their alcohol and drugs, make them work. The city’s overburdened by putting them in jail. I think we’re all getting fed up with it. Same with the homeless people downtown. Send them to Cole County or St. Louis County; get them out of Boone County."

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 24, 2008 | 5:00 p.m.

I remember that article but your link opens as page not found.

Does anybody ever think though that some of those types have been beaten down by society for so long it is just in their nature now to stay down instead of trying to stand up only to be beaten down once again.

I am not excusing them by far but both sides of the issue must be looked at to be fair here.

This is the humanistic side to this issue nobody seems to get that there are countless studies relating to just this issue.

Isn't there an old story that you can only whip a dog so many times before it will bite you back.

The same goes with all people as in you can only verbally beat them down so many times before it is programmed into their minds and they just give up.

In alot of ways it is not really their fault at all but it can be attributed to this so called "Christian Society" we all claim to live in and claim to be apart of whether you are born Jew,Catholic,Protestant,Methodist,Greek or whatever your flavor of practice is that is only centered on "self" and not on what can I do today to make somebody's life who is worse off than I am better.

Until this so called "Christian Society" as a whole stands up as one voice and one mind there will never be true change nor real helps for those who have been beaten down as described above.

That is the sad point of this issue but thank God on High that there are still the "salt of the earth" who do know how it really is and who reach out daily to those to try and make others lives better one day at a time.

What have you done today in your own lives that was not actually self serving by your common nature and instead go do something little for somebody or anybody for that matter worse off than you are.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 24, 2008 | 5:05 p.m.

Here's the link again: http://columbiatribune.com/2008/sep/2008...

Keep in mind that self-centeredness includes sponging off of others.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 24, 2008 | 5:37 p.m.

Not all of the time.

Alot of times it is only a internal survival mechanism that takes over.

It is no different than if you were lost in the woods per say with not much hope of survival.

What would you do or extremes would you go to that would ensure at least some chance of survival.

It is not always a one sided thing Ayn Rand that is all I try to present.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 24, 2008 | 7:14 p.m.

Ayn:
It's Christmas time and the Missourian has been taking down anything I say that may be misinterpeted as inflammatory so I'll try to be as "politically correct" as possible. I remember that Trib comment and the banter that ensued. Fast forward to now. As I posted above, "The reasons for their plight vary. Understanding why and how they got to be in this situation may help in the long run."
Mental/emotional/brain disorders/personality disorders/sociopaths, depression/mania, addictions and medical reasons may account for some of these situations. Coupled with financial problems, lack of spirituality, disconnects, "entitlement issues" feelings of disenfranchisement and even lack of motivation can contribute to others seeing not a person in need of help, treatment, compassion, referrals,etc. but just a "bum." (How much is "enabled" is hard to say. We can save that for later.) Or, you can choose to rant on about sponges.
There's plenty of food and clothes available for these people. (I would rather see Rockbridge students walking for shattered families and dysfunctional individuals, in Columbia, than for AidsYouth in the Sudan) and I wonder what's the Red Cross doing about this problem?
Warm beds are not as plentiful.
Even the mental hospital wards are full.
It's freezing outside.
If the best we can do is give them a sack lunch and a bus ticket to warmer climate, we should send them on their way.
They might come back in the summer or maybe they'll find their way through life elsewhere.
Wha'da ya think?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 24, 2008 | 7:30 p.m.

Why can't citizens see the "entire picture" on this issue?

It is not hiding nor elusive by nature of the situation and has been going on for longer than most of us have been alive on this earth if our ages were to be combined.

What is wrong with some people in this so called "Christian Society"?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking December 25, 2008 | 3:12 a.m.

When you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. If you keep giving him the fish, well, he has no reason to learn how to feed himself, now does he?

Some of these guys don't want to be "helped". Sure, if you give them an apartment and food, they'll take it, but they won't join productive society again.

Should Columbia have a facility like this?

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/05/us/05h...

DK

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 25, 2008 | 5:23 a.m.

This is as much of the article "DK" refers to that I can fit. Please read the entire article from his above post.
Homeless Alcoholics Receive a Permanent Place to Live...
By JESSICA KOWAL
Correction: An article on July 5 about an apartment building for homeless alcoholics in Seattle referred incompletely to its financing. Private sector investors, who receive federal tax credits, contributed to the cost of the building; it was not solely financed with government funds.

SEATTLE Rodney Littlebear was a homeless drunk who for 15 years ran up the public tab with trips to jail, homeless shelters and emergency rooms.

... It is part of a first-in-the-nation experiment to ease the torment of drug and alcohol addiction while saving taxpayers' money.

... Each had been a street drunk for several years and had failed at least six efforts at sobriety. In a controversial acknowledgment of their addiction, the residents — 70 men and 5 women — can drink in their rooms. They do not have to promise to drink less, attend Alcoholics Anonymous or go to church.

These are the "unsympathetic homeless"...they are probably the most difficult to get off the streets, said Bill Hobson, executive director of the Downtown Emergency Service Center...

...alcoholics found most often at the jail, the sobering center and the public Harborview Medical Center, said Amnon Shoenfeld, director of King County's division of mental health and chemical abuse.

... Many have heart ailments, cirrhosis, diabetes, head injuries from falling on sidewalks and severe circulation problems. Four residents have already died, including one who moved in with late-stage liver cancer.
The building's critics are particularly incensed that residents do not have to stay sober.
Like Mr. Littlebear, Howard Hunt, 41, moved in the first day. Homeless since 1999, Mr. Hunt said he drank a daily bottle of whiskey before he came to 1811 Eastlake. He has epilepsy and walks with crutches because he fractured his hip.
He shrugged when asked about the policy allowing him to drink in his new home. "We're going to drink somewhere," Mr. Hunt said.
It's a lot cheaper having them spend the night at 1811 than at the E.R. or at the drunk tank," Mr. Meyers said.

The building's atmosphere during a recent daytime visit was more convalescent home than rowdy dorm.
A third of the residents, including Mr. Littlebear, are American Indian; an estimated 20 percent are military veterans. The average age is 45. Most receive state or federal disability payments, and all residents pay 30 percent of their income as rent under HUD's guideline for low-income housing.

One man continues to sleep on the floor next to his bed, and another refused sheets in favor of his sleeping bag, Ms. King said.

"I cut down," Mr. Littlebear said. "I've got to save my liver."

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 25, 2008 | 5:32 a.m.

DK:
Do you resent this Seattle experiment? Are you jealous? Do you have a better solution for Seattle? Does Columbia need a place like this right now? Would Anheiser -Bush/IN-Bev partner with the Salvation Army, HUD and others to help build one in St. Louis? Would you rather see these Seattle Alcoholics come to Columbia and live outside in our streets and use our resources such as University Hospital's emergency room, Burrell Behavioral, our jails, your front door step?
On one level, this Seattle article kind of reads like these people are being rewarded for their addiction to booze. What's going on is actually quite more.
It's the first of an experiment. (You know what an experiment is, don't ya, Doobs.) This one's a "social" experiment, in the petri dish of those living in Seattle. Kudos for them to take such a novel approach to save money and maybe get these people to drink less, feel better and maybe reach sobriety as they find a different coping mechanism to handle life's challenges, physical pains and mental angst.
Thank goodness Columbia has "tons" of AA members who are working their sobriety program.
I don't think any of these folks would rather move to Seattle, just to get a free room.

I also don't think Seattle's enabling. I think they are dealing with reality and making the best of the "human condition."
(And doobs, why don't you go to Seattle, hit "skid row" and walk a mile in their shoes before throwing out any fish.)

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking December 25, 2008 | 7:08 a.m.

In flush times, we can try these sorts of experiments. The general idea is called "harm reduction", and it involves accomodating otherwise intractable behavior because it saves resources. I have not seen a followup on this experiment to see how it has worked out. I'd would be surprised if more than a few of the residents have turned their lives around (having known a good number of people like this over the years). Typically, people who can do so, turn their lives around with minimal use of these kinds of services.

In lean times, when demands for these services may well rise, we may not be able to afford it, and may find it preferable to simply drive these people out of town.

This sounds harsh, and it is. However, how much do we have to help people who will not help themselves? Particularly when these resources could be used to help people who are productive members of society, simply going through a tough time.

I have more of a checkered past than you know - while I have not been homeless, I have significant first-hand knowledge of drug and street culture. I am acquainted with some of the homeless guys downtown. None of them are going to turn their lives around no matter what we do. Operating a facility like Seattle's in Columbia would simply allow the residents to continue to kill themselves - it just might be a little slower than if they stayed on the street.

DK

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 25, 2008 | 8:50 a.m.

Mark:
I respect you for sharing that you have knowledge outside of the laboratory environment.
In the America I know, people are still allowed to "slowly kill themselves." It bothers many of us to know and see this.
It would be interesting to learn how this Seattle experiment pans out.
It seems that Seatle's main concern is financial and societal damage control with the focus on treatment and/or maintenance. (They don't seem to be forcing people to reform, to qualify for help.)
It's still pretty humane, if you ask me.
Hope you're having a decent Christmas Day.
-Ray S.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 25, 2008 | 10:39 a.m.

Mark the problem in reality is that those whom you claim do not want to work or provide for themselves comes down to the actual reality of it all is the fact they have utterly been beaten down so far they cannot help but only look down and not up. That is fact. It is ingrained into their psych,their inner being. They have been told too many times they are not worth their own salt they carry in their bodies. They have been stepped on literally in their minds. It is a solid fact I assure you.

Unless Mark you have actually been there and done that and been to that point in life where you have absolutely nothing left but the clothes on your back,your meager back pack of belongings and what is in your pockets you really do knot truly know how it feels or how it is.

You talk about homelessness like some kind of a plague and it is not but it is a very sick failure of a symptom of this so called "Christian Society" we all live in. You so called "Good Christian People" have failed your own fellow man and women and made this society what it is today.

Even Christ said long ago Himself to His followers "The homeless and the down trodden will always be with you".

He said that how many centuries ago now and it is still true to this day and will be until this selfish society finally wakes up but IMHO Sheol will freeze over many times first.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking December 26, 2008 | 4:39 a.m.

Once again, we have "been there, done that" Chuck with his authoritative pronouncements on everything. It is not necessary to actually live a life to have an valid opinion on how to keep from having to.

A hand up is one thing. Most of these guys don't want that. Many of these guys have been getting handouts for so long that they wouldn't know what to do with an opportunity if it hit them in the face.

You seem to think they're blameless in this regard. Who makes them drink that case of Steel? Who makes them bother patrons of downtown businesses? Who makes them combative and loud? I don't, and neither do you. Would giving some of the guys in Paquin park an apartment down the hall from yours make them clean up and get jobs? I doubt it, and I'd imagine you wouldn't be very happy with that arrangement either.

The only people who have "beaten them down" is themselves. After a while, people reap what they have sown. Building a good reputation on the job, and living as a law abiding citizen, gets you a lot more personal capital then drinking Camo at 7 in the morning and panhandling people coming out of Panera.

DK

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 26, 2008 | 8:04 a.m.

Once again we are presented with the obvious uneducated response by Mark Foecking who has obviously not been to the lowest points these citizens mentioned above are at now at or have been at in the past.

Mark Foecking FYI I have been there and done that in this issue and I need not prove one thing to you as you try to challenge my claims or how else would I have not only the Mental Scars but the Physical Scars as well as reminders.

In fact Mark Foecking why don't you join up me and other concerned citizens on the local Barack Obama Community Coalition For Change. We would be glad to have you on board and I hope to see you at our next meeting in January. Then we all can see what kind of concerned citizen you portray yourself to be.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 26, 2008 | 8:17 a.m.

Those who are content to be suckers rather than weeding out the deadbeats from the truly deserving should open their homes to those deadbeats. Who on here will be first?

The more money that is taken out of the pockets of hard-working, responsible (e.g., don't make a kid when you can't even support yourself) people, the less incentive they have to work. Time to kick the drunks, drug addicts, criminals, baby daddies and baby mamas off the wagon and make them start pulling. If they won't pull, leave them by the side of the road, where the bleeding hearts can pick them up and support them out of their own pockets.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking December 26, 2008 | 8:29 a.m.

Chuck, all you keep telling me is I'm uneducated on issues regarding homeless people (and I'm talking about your typical chronically homeless male alcoholic, not someone who is just going through a tough time). Are any of my observations wrong? Do you really think that if some of the guys in Paquin park (that you regularly complain about) were given housing and food, with no strings attached, that any more than maybe one of them would turn his life around?

No, they would keep right on doing what they're doing now. This actually was an issue in CHA apartments in the mid '90s. The city made some units in OAK and Paquin available to people getting out of halfway houses. Since most of these programs have more than 50% recidivism rate, many of the occupants went right back to drinking, drugging, fighting, stealing, etc. to the detriment of the elderly and disabled in the two places.

Just because I haven't slept in an alley doesn't mean I can't know something about it. I have known a lot of people in my life, Chuck, and some of them have and do sleep in alleys. This is not something I want to do, and I know how to make sure I will never have to. I also have a pretty good insight into why people that sleep in alleys, do.

I'm not a concerned citizen on this issue. The typical drunk panhandler downtown doesn't affect me one way or the other (and I'm someone who will talk to, and give them money and liquor, knowing full well where it's going). If they're not going to help themselves, then all the social programs in the world aren't going to.

DK

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 26, 2008 | 9:34 a.m.

Mark Foecking so you admit that you have never lived on the streets nor actually been homeless and destitute nor suffered from some of the great aspects of the suffering of having to deal with a Mental Illness and Alcoholism and Drug Addiction which is just the acting out of the need to self medicate due to these grave problems of the underlying Mental Illness.

So it is obvious you truly do not know how it feels to be at that point but yet you are presenting yourself as some kind of expert when you openly admit here you have not "Been there nor had to go through that".

The only observation you have is out of some book,having talked to some person we do not know and maybe observing somebody on the street. The point is Mark Foecking you are uneducated in the matter over all. Not to the point that you cannot be educated further which you do not seem to want to be by somebody who has been to that point in their past life which I assure you I have been.

That is how I can post with the assurance that I do Mark Foecking because I have been to those points of lowness,despair and have lived those low points. Obviously you have not.

I know how it truly is out there and I do understand the entire issue having at many times lived it in my own life. I've lived in homeless shelters before and slept many a cold night on the street it is not pretty by far.

The best example I can provide today to those out on the streets is to live my life one day at a time and keep on working a program of recovery and hopefully somebody will follow that example. That is the basics of how I can help others not by putting them down further as you do here and on other forums,blogs.

Today though I am quite thankful for what little I do have which is not much by far.

Mark Foecking if you think you are going to take me to school on this issue you are sorely wrong by a long ways man. I graduated that school of hard knocks and am slowly on the way back up one day at a time. So I can say I have "been there and done that" unlike you.

So Mark are you going to accept my invitation to join the local Barack Obama Community Coalition For Change or are you going to keep complaining about issues from behind your computer monitor at home and while you are at work at M.U.? After all if you want things to change shouldn't you be willing yourself to step up and help work towards those changes in our community?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 26, 2008 | 10:04 a.m.

"Harbor House was forced to turn away nearly 700 requests for shelter in the last three months, said director Jim Chapman. As jobs disappear and the temperature continues to drop in mid-Missouri, Harbor House is at capacity."

For individuals, I would suggest that "true criminal scammers of the charitable" be referred to Church service programs, drug court and/or mental health court procedures and a doctor/judge exam/determination of their situation.
Based on this doctor/judge determination, an eligibility/treatment plan card could be issued concerning which government funded and nonprofit 501c3 charitable organizations these folk would be allowed to "ask for help from." (If you have no "arrest record" you would not need such an eligibility card.)
In this way, "legitimate" families in need and eligible, recently displaced individuals that Harbor House have mentioned in this article, would still be eligible for assistance.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz December 26, 2008 | 12:13 p.m.

Geez Louise Chuck, if someone has to have walked the walk to be respected in your eyes, then you better tell the fine folks in the Obama Praise Group that have not been homeless they are not worthy to serve, right? I'm guessing some of the fine folks at CHA, CMCA, VAC, United Way, Salvation Army, etc. are just not "real enough" for you and they should resign their positions, right? Because that is what you are saying to those folks (not to their face) who are in the trenches every day.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley December 27, 2008 | 7:35 p.m.

This is an interesting topic..

Ray Shapiro asked DK if he was jealous about the Seattle Homeless Project...

I don't think he is Ray.. But... Perhaps whenever life is a little too tough for us, maybe we can all just start drinking, and make it a goal to become a "long term homeless person" and get one of those nice little studio apartments for free. Think they can build enough of them, Ray?

The fact is that life beats us all up. Life is not easy on anyone. If you want something, and it is worth having, you'll sacrifice and you'll work for it. Most people accept these facts, and they continue on in life no mater how "beat up" they are by it; and they work, and they sacrifice, and their reward is that they get to live a life un-beholden to anyone. Their reward is that they get to say that they made it the honest way, without depending on anyone. They might not have the fanciest cars, or the nicest houses, but what they have is theirs, and they worked to earn the right to call it theirs. None of us were given any document at birth that entitled us to handouts from anyone.

Now, there are people in this world that deserve society's compassion, understanding, and help. But you won't find those people getting drunk or high everyday. You'll find them "fighting the good fight" to try to make it! And if I choose to be compassionate, understanding, and helpful to anyone, it will be to those people.

There is no shame in working to make an honest living. NO legitimate job is shameful to have if you support yourself with it.

The decision to pick up a bottle and drink to get drunk and "forget all of your troubles" is a conscious one! The decision to load up a pipe with crack cocaine and smoke it to "forget all of your troubles" is a conscious one! And, the decision to "give up" and be a "ward of the state" is also a conscious one!

Rick.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 27, 2008 | 10:19 p.m.

Rick:

You say: ["Now, there are people in this world that deserve society's compassion, understanding, and help. But you won't find those people getting drunk or high everyday."]

I say: But you do.

I ask: How do you explain that there are people who are in the vicious grip of "addiction?"
Do they just don't have enough "will power?"

What about those who are mentally ill and just can't make good healthy conscious choices?
Should doctors, social workers and professionals turn their backs on them?

Or, is it more humane to just throw every drunk and druggy in jail and just throw away the key?

Prison should be for criminals, not sick people. (Unless they're really sick criminals.)

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley December 27, 2008 | 11:06 p.m.

IF a person has a mental illness, that is one thing... That "if" should be bigger, though... Because there are more people that use the term "addiction" as a crutch than there are people that have a legitimate mental illness...

But, what is even worse, are the people that through their actions, ENABLE people without a mental illness to use the term "addiction" as a crutch..

I guess the determining factor for me is, if a person truly WANTS to win against the addiction, and become a productive member of society, then we will see REAL HARD work on their behalf to do that. We won't see them going to the liquor store on their first day out of rehab. We won't see them sitting around the park drunk or high during the day less then one week out of rehab.. We won't see them out asking for money from strangers. We will see them taking those jobs that people like Ayn Rand mentioned being offered to them on Aug. 29. We'll see them applying for jobs. Ya know, Labor Ready could put EVERY ONE of them to work. Ohh, they are not going to get rich there, but they will make enough money to where if they will work hard, save up, and sacrifice a little; they will get on their feet.

There really is no excuse for someone that does not have a legitimate mental disorder to be homeless and unemployed. I have no problem with people being compassionate, just as long as the people that they are being compassionate to don't take advantage of it..

Rick.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 27, 2008 | 11:58 p.m.

http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/pro...
- Addiction means a person has no control over whether he or she uses a drug or drinks. Someone who's addicted to cocaine has grown so used to the drug that he or she has to have it. Addiction can be physical, psychological, or both.

Physical addiction is when a person's body actually becomes dependent on a particular substance (even smoking is physically addictive). It also means building tolerance to that substance, so that a person needs a larger dose than ever before to get the same effects. Someone who is physically addicted and stops using a substance like drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes may experience withdrawal symptoms. Common symptoms of withdrawal are diarrhea, shaking, and generally feeling awful.

Psychological addiction happens when the cravings for a drug are psychological or emotional. People who are psychologically addicted feel overcome by the desire to have a drug. They may lie or steal to get it.

A person crosses the line between abuse and addiction when he or she is no longer trying the drug to have fun or get high, but has come to depend on it. His or her whole life centers around the need for the drug. An addicted person — whether it's a physical or psychological addiction or both —no longer feels like there is a choice in taking a substance.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 28, 2008 | 2:39 a.m.

>>> IF a person has a mental illness, that is one thing... That "if" should be bigger, though... Because there are more people that use the term "addiction" as a crutch than there are people that have a legitimate mental illness. <<<

Wrong because even back in the founding days of Alcoholics Anonymous Dr Bob relates in the Big Book of A.A. itself under "The Doctors Story" that the disease of Alcoholism and Dug Addictions are just the symptoms of an underlying Mental Illness of the mind and a disease of the body as well but mainly it was thought to be mainly confine to the mind. The acts of consuming drugs and or alcohol are a needed aspect to them to "self medicate themselves" to try and cure or to lessen the pain they feel in their mind.

Haven't you ever heard the phrase "doctor cure thyself"?

This was known clear back in those days by most all practicing psychologists then.

It is no different than somebody after a long day at the office or job going home and the first thing they do is grab a beer or a high ball and slam it down or even light up a cigarette when ever they can on break at work.

A drug is a drug is a drug. That is fact. Whether it be illegal in nature or sold over the counter as fast food even. People will do certain things or ingest certain things to try and balance their own brain chemistry. That is fact.

Mental Illness has many many depths which those in society are in denial of even today,but thank God that really good and caring Mental Health Care Case workers are not nor the doctors that work daily to help those who can come to terms with themselves that they do have a mental Illness of some kind or another.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley December 28, 2008 | 3:02 a.m.

You guys are worse than the people with the "addiction". You give them a reason to continue to be "addicted". The phrase of the day should be "coddle them and they'll come"....

Sooner or later you'll find that your heart can't "bleed" for everyone...... Well, you might anyway, Ray.......

Rick.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking December 28, 2008 | 4:40 a.m.

Chuck, you say you're an expert on being homeless and unemployed because you've lived it. What should we do with intractable street drunks, like the ones you complain about in Paquin park? Giving them food and housing (unless they are required to take treatment in exchange for it) will just perpetuate their behavior. Personally, if someone wants to live on the street and get drunk every day, I have no problem with that. We shouldn't reward the behavior, however. And for most of them, yes, it IS their fault.

They have to make the decision to become productive members of society. Your personal solution, Chuck, has NOT made you a productive member of society. It has made you a ward of the state. You may have stopped drinking and drugging, and congratulations to you on that, but you are still dependent on government largesse for your livelihood. Do you think you'll ever do paid work again? No, because you don't need to. Similarly, operating apartments for street people will just perpetuate their behavior, because there will be no reason for them to change. The reasons that they stay drunk won't go away just because the state has given them a place to live.

Expanding programs like this (Seattle's) to take homeless people off the street is not something we will likely do in poor economic times. it is also something that is counterproductive even in good economic times.

I worked with a woman who volunteered at the St. Francis house for a while. She stopped, because it was so frustrating to her to see the regulars back every night, in spite of the availability of counseling and rehab programs. She learned how the desire to change has to come from within, and most of these guys had no desire.

DK

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 28, 2008 | 5:04 a.m.

>>> Do you think you'll ever do paid work again? No, because you don't need to. <<

This statement is quite funny coming from somebody who only knows me from the internet. Congrats on showing your lack of an education when it comes to my personal life,which is none of your business to begin with and when you have never even talked to me face to face.

If you are such the expert there Mark why don't you jump on over into the Mental Health Care field and go teach those who work it daily how it should be done. Better yet why don't you run for State Senate.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking December 28, 2008 | 5:34 a.m.

Chuck, would you please answer my question? What would you do to address the problem of the chronic homeless drunks that bother people downtown? I notice you didn't have anything to say about the rest of my post.

DK

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley December 28, 2008 | 7:15 a.m.

Chuck: "If you are such the expert there Mark why don't you jump on over into the Mental Health Care field and go teach those who work it daily how it should be done. Better yet why don't you run for State Senate."

Me: Why don't you, Chuck? You seem to have all of the answers... Actually, you ARE the only answer they can come up with right now...

But, what about me, Chuck? I only "know" you from the Internet... Tell ME, how did you come to be unemployed at Wal-Mart? Did you quit, or were you fired? It is a simple, honest question. Are you getting paid for all of your protesting, Chuck? Or are you able to do it because you don't have to work an 8 hour a day job, like most productive members of society do, Chuck? That was also an honest question, Chuck..

Rick.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 28, 2008 | 9:19 a.m.

Mark Foecking I do not have to tell you all of the details because all of the details are not your business but I do work with in a coalition of people who are trying to do their best to address those issues.

Who those people are I will not say here because you will just go harass those people as you try to do against myself not only on this online media forum but elsewhere as well. I will never give you those names to protect them from citizens as yourself.

Rest assured there is a small coalition though working on these ongoing issues and they are not like most citizens who post here locally online as they do actually work on solutions not going around as alot do only complaining about the problem.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 28, 2008 | 10:44 a.m.

Mark:
Re: Your question, "What would you do to address the problem of the chronic homeless drunks that bother people downtown?"
A suggestion: I would be willing to start a small task force whose ultimate goal would be to give each and every one of them a sack lunch and a one-way bus ride as far South as possible. Funding and gifts-in-kind to make this happen could come from various sources, including businesses in "the District," "Paul Sturtz & friends" and Greyhound Bus Lines. CPD could oversee the bus boarding. Concerned citizens could attend a "Bon Voyage" party hosted at the YouZeum..

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley December 28, 2008 | 1:09 p.m.

Now that's really not a bad idea, Ray! That IS "thinking outside of the box", and I am impressed. Good job, Ray!

Rick.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 28, 2008 | 2:21 p.m.

Yes many cities across the United States do this same thing thus pushing the issue off onto some other unsuspecting city,county or state.

Look at Atlanta before they held the Olympics there. They gave every homeless person a one way bus ticket to leave town or else.

The County of Tulare in California was so over come by the needs of those families who had lost jobs,were on county/state funded aid/SSD/SSI that they offered at one time those families @20,000 to relocate to another county or another state to move the problem onto somebody elses door step.

Shall we also look at the genocides going on now and in the past on the continent of Africa too. Now there is population elimination at work for you right there.

The above are just examples of our society today refusing as a whole to work on the issues due to it's own selfish human desires only centered on self.

Yup that's real progress in your communities right there.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz December 28, 2008 | 2:21 p.m.

Ray, what's stopping you from chatting up one of these folks and buying the requisite sack lunch and one-way ticket yourself? Why the need for a committee and such when you can make a change all by yourself?

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley December 28, 2008 | 2:42 p.m.

John Schultz: "Ray, what's stopping you from chatting up one of these folks and buying the requisite sack lunch and one-way ticket yourself? Why the need for a committee and such when you can make a change all by yourself?"

John, I kinda like Ray's idea to be honest about it. I think that the difference between him doing it himself and a committee being formed, is that a committee would be more effective in moving these people in mass.

Now, there will always be "hard heads" that just don't "get it". But I think what Ray is suggesting is to move them to a warmer climate, for their own good, because the weather conditions here can be hazardous to the people that are exposed to them. The difference is, "homeless here where you can die in the winter, or homeless in Texas, where you won't have to worry about freezing to death". Homeless people are pretty "tough", with what they choose to put up with everyday, but the human body does have it's limits. Getting them to a warmer climate is in and of itself an effort to try to help them out.

I'll bet Chuck would not be complaining about putting the homeless people that he was complaining about in Paquin Park on a bus and sending them "down south"? But, he would want us to "foot the bill" for all of the other ones that he does NOT have a problem with...

"Only when it suits him".......... LOL.

Rick.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 28, 2008 | 5:51 p.m.

John Schultz asks: "Ray, what's stopping you from chatting up one of these folks and buying the requisite sack lunch and one-way ticket yourself? Why the need for a committee and such when you can make a change all by yourself?"
My answer: A good community leader/neighbor learns how to maximize resources, and what to do when it's important and time to do it.
As you are the Chairman of the Libertarian Party, why don't you, Gary Nolan and a few of your other few Libertarian friends chip in and buy me a cup of coffee at your favorite dining place, CC Broilers, and I'll give you some ideas about how it actually helps a community to learn how to be creative, flexible, bipartisan and think outside the box. (Or do Libertarians always refuse to go for spit.)
Hey, I'd even be willing to sip my coffee, while you guys eat your meals, and in appreciation for that cup of coffee, I'll leave the tip, for your entire bill. I'll give you an ear full, some entertainment and 15% of the tab, all for the price of a cup of coffee. Heck, I'd even be willing to present you with a one-way ticket, out of town. Is peanut butter and jelly on white bread good enough for your sack lunch? Would you like me to remove the crust for you?
(This town is getting to be like living with the constipated! Maybe I should be the one getting on a bus.)

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 31, 2008 | 7:25 p.m.

Yet another example of how many people don't let a disability disable them:

http://columbiatribune.com/2008/dec/2008...

Brian McCarthy was born with cerebral palsy that left him with impaired speech, shaky hands and a pigeon-toed gait. . . .

McCarthy is a skier, a mountain biker, a canoeist, a hunter and a camper.

He’s also a skilled entrepreneur who started a home construction business that peaked at $1.7 million in sales in 2005 before the housing market headed for the basement, leaving him with sales of just $40,000 in 2006.

Whereupon McCarthy rebranded his company as a remodeling business, with a focus on reworking homes to accommodate the handicapped and the elderly. The payoff: McCarthy Builders and Remodelers grossed $1.5 million in 2007 - and is headed for a record $2 million this year.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley January 1, 2009 | 12:50 a.m.

EXCELLENT Story; Ayn Rand. A testament to those that choose to conquer their problems, instead of using them for excuses.

Rick.

(Report Comment)

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