Beauty Is Only Skin Deep

Posted: May 9, 2008 in Bureauacracy, Government, Homelessness, Money, Politics

Over the last 14 months of writing this blog, I’ve done quite a bit of research regarding homelessness. I’ve also kept watch on various other blogs and news sites regarding homelessness.

This morning I came across a posting from the beautiful island state of Hawaii.  

Although it’s hard to think of such a beautiful paradise such as Hawaii having a homeless population, the truth is that they do.

In one of my past posts, 3 Easy Payments, I quoted Hawaii’s current Governor, Linda Lingle, who said,

"We have come dangerously close to accepting the homeless situation as a problem that we just can’t solve."

The news article, Governor criticizes Legislature on homelessness, was on the KHNL-8 website.

It seems that Governor Lingle had proposed increasing the number of homeless shelters, as well as trying to find a way to increase the number of low income housing units – something that I wish would happen here in California.

According to Hawaii State Senator, Suzanne Chun Oakland,

"… programs to help the homeless were a priority for the Legislature."

In the end, however, the state legislature cut funding to the programs.

It seems strange to me that state and local governments are quick to talk about ending homelessness in their neck of the woods, but when push comes to shove, that’s all it is – talk. When it comes to actually funding programs to help the homeless, they are just as quick to cut back and reduce funding for those programs. And it’s always the same excuse: "We don’t have the money." Yet, they seem to have the funds to spend on so many other things – like all of the personal perks which most politicians so enjoy having.

For some reason, politicians seem to lack the common sense to recognize that by not providing funding for programs to help the homeless, they are actually creating a worsening problem: chronic homelessness.

I believe I’ve mentioned this before: one day while speaking with a city employee in my community, she said that there is a reluctance to expand services to the homeless for two reasons – one, there is the fear that expanding services will tempt homeless from other areas to come to the community, and second, they don’t want to make it too easy on the homeless.

First of all, the very notion that expanding services for the homeless will make it too easy for them is so ridiculous that it borders on insanity. There is absolutely nothing easy about being homeless. Nothing.

Secondly, by not implementing and funding programs which help the homeless become self-sufficient and productive members of the community, we are creating individuals who become perpetually co-dependant on the "system." They become institutionalized by homelessness and as a result, become chronically homeless.

As for the idea that increasing services for the homeless being an incentive which lures homeless into the area in search of services is also nonsense. Studies have shown that 3 out of 4 people who are homeless remain in the same geographical location where they became homeless.

If anything, not expanding services for the homeless is itself a cause of the increase of homelessness in any municipality. The lack of programs that can potentially help the homeless re-enter the community is, for many, a closed door.

Look at it from a common sense point of view.

If there are sick people, it makes some sense to try to provide them medical services, right? And, if the numbers of people who are getting sick increases, then it makes sense to expand medical services in an attempt to accommodate their needs. If you don’t provide adequate medical services, sooner or later, society becomes deluged by the numbers of those who are sick.

Furthermore, if you see that the numbers of people experiencing health issues is on the increase, then it is asinine to cut funding to those programs.

The National League of Cities reported in a recent study that there has been an increase of 22 percent in homelessness and requests for emergency shelter.

Of course, we can’t place the entire burden on the shoulders of the politicians. We’re just as much to blame as they are because we keep voting these bozos into office. Then, we complain that they need to do something about the homeless problem.

Maybe instead of electing leaders into office who are concerned about giving superficial face lifts to our communities, we should be looking to elect leaders who desire to want to make our cities beautiful from the inside out. This means providing aid to those in our communities who need it the most and not making it easier for the fat cats to get fatter.

It doesn’t matter how "pretty" we make our communities look if it’s only on the surface. So long as there is one man, woman or child, who is forced to sleep behind a building or tucked away under a bush somewhere, the ugliness will continue to be there.

Remember… beauty is only skin deep.

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