Boston and the Homeless

mass88

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I am curious how some of you feel the city of Boston handles the presences of homeless people in and around the city. For a northern city, I sometimes and surprised at the number of homeless people panhandling on the streets of Boston. Some are nice, and some are complete assholes.
 

statler

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Honestly, the kids with the clipboards bother me a lot more than the homeless.

Also, this is a very politically charged topic and can only end in disaster.

 

Lurker

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"For a northern city, I sometimes and surprised at the number of homeless people panhandling on the streets of Boston"

In the winter time many of "Boston's" homeless hop on buses for points south. The rest of the year Boston hands out more money in social programs, has more bleeding heart idiots that cater to panhandlers, and is lax about enforcing vagrancy laws. We are essentially the San Francisco of the east coast.

It also didn't help that the state decided to close all the state mental hospitals. A reliance on weak self medication programs and counseling for serious conditions creates more expensive problems than was saved by closing the hospitals. The quality of life, which was supposed to improve by letting everyone out of the 'horribly inhumane' institutions, isn't obviously so great in the gutter.

As far as the clipboard people, devouring their little souls with a sarcastic retort is quite delicious.
 

Beton Brut

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Honestly, the kids with the clipboards bother me a lot more than the homeless.
Co-sign those little bastards with the clipboards
Word up. I sometimes pretend to talk on my mobile to avoid them. Summer's here (on the calendar anyway) and they descend like mosquitoes on Brookline Village and Coolidge Corner.

Regarding the homeless, a lot of present-day issues find their root cause in the closure of Massachusetts Mental Health facilities during the first Dukakis Administration.
 

statler

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Word up. I sometimes pretend to talk on my mobile to avoid them.
I usually wait for another person or group to pass in front of me and sneak in behind them and then scoot around when they get stopped.

The sad part is I'm usually sympathetic to their various causes (except the LaDouche kids) but they are relentless once they get hold of you. At least most the homeless give up easily.
 
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JohnAKeith

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I see no reason to be kind to people with clipboards asking for money. In fact, I see no reason to acknowledge them, at all. It will only encourage them. It's rude. I ignore them, completely. Their rudeness demands my rudeness. I am happy to comply.

The homeless are (is?) another issue, entirely. No doubt you are right, this conversation will head right off the deep end.

I have noticed a lot more homeless and people begging than last year, or the year before. No doubt the result of the economy, but as I was just remarking to a friend, last week, I don't see how the economy affects them. Seriously. I don't think the people I'm seeing now were employed last year or the year before and then suddenly got laid off. Nor do I think there's a been a huge drop in social services support on a state or federal level. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

The media hasn't been non-stop with stories about over-crowded homeless shelters, etc., so there's no reason to believe we're in tough shape.
 

cden4

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The only homeless that really bug me are the ones who jump on the T and annoy everyone with their sob story looking for money and don't shut up until they get some. Most of them are pretty terrible actors too...

But yeah the clipboard people are really out in full force lately. I haven't said it to any of them yet, but I'm tempted to reply "sorry I only give money to organizations who don't harass people on the street".
 

tobyjug

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Toby Playbook For Street Solicitors

Q: "Are you in favor of saving the environment?"
A: "Yes, save it for me so I can rape it and drive as fast as I want."

Q: "Do you have a moment for hungry children?"
A: "Yes. Lunch. With bernaise sauce they taste great."

Q: "Do you have a moment for political reform?"
A: "Yes. Election Day."
 

KentXie

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For me, if I have free time on my hand, I would enthusiastically listen to their cause and tell them that I'm going to contribute 20+ dollars and then reach in my pocket and say, "Oh crap, forgot my wallet, maybe next time." In the end, I save about a half dozen from this experience by keeping him distracted for 10-15 min.

Seriously, I worked at the Christian Science Center during the school year and I have to walk from the NEU campus to there. There's a chain of them at the place across from the BU theater and they ALL harass you in a row.
 

kz1000ps

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I've walked this stretch of sidewalk dozens upon dozens of times because Winston Flowers' main distribution warehouse is right here at 160 Southampton and I used to deliver for them--I'd get off the 1 bus at BMC and then walk this final stretch. So this wasn't a casual drive-thru-because-Google-told-me-to, it's an area I know very well and I felt I should see it for myself. And I know the "photo of the day" thread on Archboston isn't the place to get all preachy, but we gotta do better than this.



And then this.... any decade now............... right?

 
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Charlie_mta

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That second photo is happening all over America, and IMO it shouldn't. Establish formal homeless areas that are sanitary and secure, and eliminate all these other ad-hoc settlements.
 

donkeybutlers

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That second photo is happening all over America, and IMO it shouldn't. Establish formal homeless areas that are sanitary and secure, and eliminate all these other ad-hoc settlements.
Or you know, provide housing for everyone without condition because housing/shelter should be a human right and not a privilege.
 

Charlie_mta

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Or you know, provide housing for everyone without condition because housing/shelter should be a human right and not a privilege.
I agree. We just wasted trillions $$$ in Afghanistan funding our military/industrial complex these last 20 years, and it's too bad it couldn't have been spent instead on decent housing, counseling and substance abuse management for people in this country.
 

donkeybutlers

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Yes, the key really is treating mental health and substance abuse issues as well as education and job training. Housing alone is not the answer.
Housing first is proven to work, and makes addressing those issues much easier. More on Housing first

Also read the work of Gabor Mate and other addiction specialists, substance abuse is not a personal fault, especially not one that should be used to preclude people from being housed. It is actually socially produced and directly related to trauma and homelessness is deeply traumatizing. This also is obviously relevant to the relationship between homelessness and mental health.
 

PT1987

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Getting these folks out of the elements and into stable housing/shelter is clearly the humane thing to do and part of the solution, but as I stated, housing alone will not solve the problem. Without serious counseling, treatment and support, you are merely moving the same lifestyle issues out of the public eye and indoors. On the other hand, if a person or family is down on their luck and finds themselves homeless due to jobs loss, medical bills, etc and does not have the same issues that many at places like Mass & Cass are unfortunately afflicted with, then by all means stable housing can mean all the difference. I feel just as badly as anyone for these people and there are exceptions, but in general, unless they seek the help that they so desperately need there isn't much that can be done to truly improve their situation.
 

donkeybutlers

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Homelessness is not caused by "lifestyle issues" it is caused by people not being able to afford housing in an unequal system with commodified housing. The problem cannot be resolved by personal responsibility, rich people for example do about as many drugs as anyone else but I don't think you would talk about them the same way at all. Its almost like the problem is poverty and material depravation before anything else. We live in a system that does not guarantee people the basic necessities of life and that is why people are homeless. Blaming individual choices is a way to ignore the structural problem.

And since you clearly didn't read anything I wrote or linked and are simply restating the same moralistic nonsense, here you go again:
Housing first is proven to work, and makes addressing those issues much easier. More on Housing first

Also read the work of Gabor Mate and other addiction specialists, substance abuse is not a personal fault, especially not one that should be used to preclude people from being housed. It is actually socially produced and directly related to trauma and homelessness is deeply traumatizing. This also is obviously relevant to the relationship between homelessness and mental health.
Housing first has a proven track record of improving the lives of homeless people way beyond just the housing. Demanding people be clean before they are housed or receive basic services actually makes more people susceptible to homelessness (aka anyone who is housed but dealing with substance issues and my be kicked out of their home) and does not make people any more likely to actually want or be able to get that help. Again if you are really concerned with the problem of addiction you should try to actually understand what it is and what drives it, not peddle drug war nonsense that is throughly refuted by the experts and only serves to justify doing nothing to actually solve the problems.
 

PT1987

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It is a proven fact that the vast majority of people you see living on the streets under THOSE conditions made not one, but many poor lifestyle choices before ending up in their predicament. The people you are referring to who ran into some bad luck or financial woes, who are actually trying to improve their situation with a clear mind, typically do not spend their days at Mass & Cass or Kensington Ave in Philly with a syringe stuck in their arm. If you don't believe me, you can google it, or perhaps you can go down to Mass & Cass and do a survey. I don't have to read your links because I know first hand, that all the housing, money, love, caring, prayers, pleading, food and any other righteous thing you can think of doesn't do a damn bit of good unless you treat the underlying problem. You can OD, drink yourself to death, commit suicide or get murdered just as easily in the confines of your own home as out on the streets.
 
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