American Elephants


“Homeless Camps Are Infectious Disease Time Bombs” * by The Elephant's Child

(*Headline shamelessly borrowed from Alex Berezow.)
According to HUD statistics, the homelessness problem is greatest in New York City, NY, 75,323, Los Angeles City & County 75,323 and Seattle/King County 10,122. These statistics, the most recent are from 2015. (It apparently takes that long for government computers to massage that much information.) My Seattle suburb is currently beginning to try to deal with our homeless problem with contentious arguments over housing location.

“Homelessness” is a contemporary problem that encompasses the out-of-work people who literally have no home and cannot afford one, those whose problems are alcoholism, drugs, mental health, or just a subcategory of those who enjoy the independence of living on the street. It has been suggested that the problem arose when the do-gooders tackled the idea of people being involuntarily committed to mental hospitals, with the idea that people were committing relatives for reasons unrelated to mental health. So it is much harder to get anyone committed, and many mental hospitals have closed. “Homeless” is another Leftist do-gooder name for much bigger problems.

At the same time addicts have to decide that they need help to overcome their addiction and be able to pay for it. We do not have drug courts that force addicts to accept treatment, and I don’t know if there is any help for those who don’t particularly want to overcome their addiction.  Addicts who have reached the homeless state pose enormous costs on society. Seattle, I believe, has an apartment building for hopeless alcoholics who are constantly picked up by police. It ‘s justified as a place where they can drink themselves to death, but it gets them off the street.

Alex Berezow’s article suggests that a methodology that measures the homeless per 100,000 population is more accurate, and he includes a graph, again for 2015 statistics. Seattle drops down a bit on the list, but is still in the disgusting range.

Funny! As I write this, there is a commercial on the radio for “Hotel California by the Sea” in Bellevue, a luxury hotel for those dealing with addiction problems. Since they go on a bit about their luxury, I assume it is also costly.

Here’s the graph for the first statistics. Clearly, neither is truly accurate, with 2015 numbers, and the problem of city/county/metropolitan area as guideposts to what’s happening. I would be surprised if with current technology, it would not be possible to have more current statistics, but government computers aren’t up to the task.

But what do you do? Seattle has many homeless camps, under the freeways, intruding on public parks. Area churches host homeless camps on a sort of rotating basis, because they are churches and supposed to be “nice.” The camps include drug dealers, prostitution rings, and increasingly, as Berezow reports, homeless camps are infectious disease time bombs. That the rest of  us don’t have to worry too much about infectious disease is due to the strong defense provided by the “pillars” of our public health system. The pillars include chlorination of the water supply, vaccination, and pasteurization of  dairy and other products—add medication. San Diego has had an ongoing outbreak of hepatitis that has hospitalized nearly 300 and killed 16. Streptococcus in Anchorage, Shigella in Portland and Tuberculosis everywhere. The squalor is a threat to society as a whole. The opioid crisis is hitting rural parts of the country as well.

What do we do? We have tried doing nothing, and that isn’t acceptable either. “It is dangerous, costly and inhumane.”

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