My Turn: Community could fix homelessness if it really wanted to invest – West Hawaii Today

Posted: October 2, 2019 at 4:43 am


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Among the troublemakers in any urban homeless atmosphere there is an alpha, one homeless person who all others respect. Mentally ill or not, this alpha could be coerced to control the rest. In the worst of the general population in prison societies it will happen that one leader is responsible for most of the group behavior.

If the community is tired of the political arena taking all of their tax money with no results, rather than turning to mob mentality, control it from within. The strongest advocate for the position of positive change in the comments section of this newspaper happens to be a mental health professional on the verge of homelessness, due to all of the funds/resources (no matter their source) being vacuumed into the democratic led swamp of bureaucracy, and not being targeted toward the source of the problem.

Homeless people are not dumb, they know how to work a broken system. Although the majority of the homeless might have mental defects, they understand the struggle to survive and can adapt well to environments established with empathy and structure, whether the rest of society chooses to engage or ignore that reality will determine the outcome of the situation.

Once the situation is recognized as a prosperity issue and not a homeless issue, the community at large can foster solutions. The biggest hindrance to solving homelessness is that Kona residents keep demanding the least effective policies. If your livelihood depends on tourists dollars and the first person a tourist encounters is a drugged-out, dirty, mentally ill homeless person, youre going to be dependent on that interaction and its outcome for your livelihood to flourish.

Ending homelessness will require Kona to systematically repair all the cracks in the countys brittle, shattered welfare and low-income housing system. From drug treatment to rental assistance to subsidized child care, the only way to address the crisis is through a concerted and costly expansion of government assistance.

County politicians keep proposing quick fixes and simple solutions because they cant publicly admit that solving homelessness is expensive. The money is there, but has been systematically diverted to political concerns that do not reflect the communities best interests. If West Hawaii is a declining tourist attraction due to the homeless situation, and the county chooses to ignore funding viable solutions, then the most important basis of the economy will dissolve so quickly everyone will be homeless but the politicians, whose incomes depend on the very taxes that are not being spent on solutions.

If this is not met head on with a one-on-one sponsorship attitude where an affluent leader of the community takes the responsibility to indirectly sponsor an individual homeless case, then those homeless individuals stay as ghosts, and haunt the community that wants them gone but wont get involved in corrective solutions. With a responsible attitude of fostering each homeless person on a case-by-case evaluation for hands on and direct involvement, tracking progress and reaching set goals becomes achievable priorities and could turn the worst homeless cases into the greatest community assets.

Or it could go on being ignored, and you might as well line the homeless up and show them off every time the cruise ship comes in because thats all the visitors are going to remember: their negative exchange with some drugged-out, screaming, dirty homeless person jumping out the bushes in the village shaking them down while the cops are off patting each other on the back for how many tickets they wrote that day on the citizens of the community miles and miles away from the epicenter of the business community of the west side of the Big Island.

Timothy Estabrook is a residentof Kansas City, Missouri.

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My Turn: Community could fix homelessness if it really wanted to invest - West Hawaii Today

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October 2nd, 2019 at 4:43 am

Posted in Mental Attitude