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Throwing money at the problem will not resolve homelessness

By Staff | Dec 30, 2020

To the editor:

Recently the Cape Coral City Council had a discussion on the homeless problem in the city of Cape Coral. Homelessness is a growing mess throughout Florida and the nation. Communities of all sizes and political dispositions have wrestled with this problem unsuccessfully for years. Government seems to throw money at the problem and it becomes magnets for homelessness. More then half of the panhandlers and homeless on Cape Coral streets are not even from the Cape Coral.

Nothing really works and it’s cost prohibitive to build enough shelters for everyone. Some of the homeless are essentially feral–they’re not going to live in a shelter (especially ones that forbid drug and alcohol use) even if it’s offered, you should realize that homelessness isn’t primarily a problem about a lack of homes. Studies show that over 58 percent of the people who say there are homeless self-identify as having a chemical dependency. And 33 percent stated that they have a mental illness.

Some of the homeless just want to get high and don’t want to work. To each their own.

Homeless advocates need to realize that not everyone who is upset at nearby homelessness is being mean. Most everyone wants the homeless dealt with humanely. But no one has a right to panhandle, sleep, or urinate on someone’s private property, but don’t say taxpayers have a moral obligation to give them money and shelter to fund that lifestyle.

There are no easy answers of course, but it would be nice if state and local officials tried thinking more creatively about this growing problem and stop wasting tax dollars. The more money you throw at the homeless problem out of sympathy or to try and make the problem go away, the worse it becomes. When the same people throw even more tax dollars at the problem it becomes bigger and a repeating cycle. It can escalate to ridiculous levels at the taxpayers expense. Unfortunately, some of the advocates who say they care and want to build affordable housing or shelters and bathroom facilities in communities as long as it is not in their neighborhood and some are making money off this problem. People with legitimate mental and addiction issues need help, not money. Homelessness has less to do with the cost of housing — it’s drugs, alcoholism, mental illness, poor life choices, and laziness. Changing the way homeless people think, and counsel them, then they may have the attitude they need to create their own success, rather than rely on society, also the fact that not everyone wants to be helped is one of the hardest things to come to grips with.

Lou Walker

Cape Coral