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Homeless problem?

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Does your city have serious homeless problem? What is your expericne dealing with them? What do you city do about them?

I would assume cities up North would have less homeless problem than us in Florida since we have the great weather for living outdoor.

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There are very few homeless people on the streets here. I remember as a child that there was one "bag lady" that would walk around town with a cart full of stuff, but she had an apartment.

There are two other people here... a lady named Mary and her mother. Mary has mental problems and is often seen walking around town barefoot. Her mother also has problems. I'm not sure of the full story, but Mary's father is a professor at the University and helps support them.

Otherwise, I've never seen a homeless person that had to sleep outside here.

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I found a source that says Grand Rapids has a homeless population of between 200 - 500, in a city population of just under 200K. Most of them frequent a group of missions and shelters that are consolidated in an area South of downtown, and you can see makeshift homeless "houses" under some of the more hidden highway and railroad overpasses. They're out year round, although they're much more likely to spend time at the shelters and missions in the winter (obviously).

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Does your city have serious homeless problem? What is your expericne dealing with them? What do you city do about them?

I would assume cities up North would have less homeless problem than us in Florida since we have the great weather for living outdoor.

Share your thoughts.

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M15669919.GIF

Some interesting numbers... I think the total number is low, but the problem is you don't know who is reporting. And I was surprised at some of the states ratings.

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There are HUGE amounts of homeless people in Portland, upwards of 20,000 I'd say. So many they hardly stand out anymore. It's hard for them in the winter when it's wet or cold or wet and cold. They sleep on the sidewalk in doorways and congregate under the overpasses. There is one guy who has a spot in some bushes across the street from my apartment. My building's newspapers are delivered by a homeless guy who wheels them around in his shopping cart in the middle of the night.

I give money when I want to give and then the money is theirs to with as they please. I never give money while at work because...as crapty as this sounds...if you do so then they keep coming back for more. I often will see them at the Carl's Jr or the Mc Donalds walk-up window and will just as often add an extra sandwich for them to my order. I like that better than giving money because I know they are getting something to eat.

There are many missions around town. They also have a potluck every sunday that gets a huge turnout at OBryant Square. The reason so many are here is that city government is lenient. They can sleep on the sidewalk but they cannot block pedestrians...so no laying across the sidewalk. They get hassled for crimes like drugs but if they aren't doing anything wrong they are left alone. What else are they going to do?

Many restaurants..well some anyway...will put the left overs the ywould throw away atthe end of the day in sacks outside so the homeless can get at it if they want to.

I don't know...interacting with the homeless is part of living in Portland. I live the pedestrian life and am close in to downtown so I am around them every day.

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Silicon Valley itself and my city in particular are not bad at all, not compared to places like San Francisco; serious problem there, or maybe it is just more out in the open. San Francisco tends to focus on a questionable agenda rather than get right down to the real problems and how to solve them, homelessness being one of them.

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Somehow I don't think that map is totally accurate. I don't believe that Mississippi has the lowest percentage of homeless people in the country. Also, the map is very inconsistent.. why does Iowa have double the homeless rate of every surrounding state? Maybe Iowa is just better at collecting that data.

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They are by percentage, not actual #. And it is really cheap to live in MS.

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When i went to San Diego to visit a close friend in Ocean Beach, a nice beach-front neighborhood of SD, there were so many homeless just chilin on the wall as they call it, i mean bein homeless in southern cali and bad..... well when compared to bein homeless in NY, Pa, NJ, or other northern states. In NYC when the homeless problem was bad (noticible to the upperclass) Mayor Guliani had police precints round up the homeless and put them on LIRR, Metro-North, or Path trains with 1-way tickets to Long Island, Westchester County, and New Jersey respectfully. All this did was convince the people with power (money) that changes were happening and the homeless were really in shelters and missions all the while they were wandering the streets of other parts of the NYC metro area, but it didnt matter as long as the rich in manhattan and other parts of the city wereent coming into contact with these people on a regualr basis, even though they still are and forever will be a part of NYC

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Is it my imagination but does California have a higher percentage of homeless than any other state? I observed a large number of homeless people especially young homeless people in San Diego, Hollywood and San Francisco. Just wondering if California has some special appeal for homeless persons.

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Temps near 70*F all year round are pretty appealing when you have to live outside. But I would assume that California has a lot more homeless in the coastal areas and probably less in the northern, colder parts, so the homeless concentration is exaggerated in places like LA and San Diego.

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I don't know if San Francisco has an inordinately high # of homeless people or it's just that I find them to be as aggressive as all hell. But last time I was there on a trip, homeless people literally yelled and cursed at me on three different occassions because I didn't give them money. Love San Fran, but I'm sort of used to that treatment from the homeless there whenever I visit.

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Somehow I don't think that map is totally accurate. I don't believe that Mississippi has the lowest percentage of homeless people in the country. Also, the map is very inconsistent.. why does Iowa have double the homeless rate of every surrounding state? Maybe Iowa is just better at collecting that data.

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I had heard that San Francisco has superior social services for the homeless and this is a reason why the population is so high. We have a homeless problem here in the District, but it just seemed more visible and more pronounced in San Francisco.

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I had heard that San Francisco has superior social services for the homeless and this is a reason why the population is so high. We have a homeless problem here in the District, but it just seemed more visible and more pronounced in San Francisco.

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I heard, but never did research to confirm, that the "superior" social services in SF (incl shelters and mental institutions) closed their doors sometime in the 1970s or 1980s and everyone inside were left out on the street, and that's why you see so many homeless people on the streets of SF. If someone from the Bay Area could enlighten us that would be great. I did notice that they are indeed quite aggressive in San Francisco. I stayed at a hotel in the Tenderloin area once and nearly had to fight my way into the door. I remember one homeless woman smacked me in the head b/c I wouldn't acknowledge her.

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When I went to San Francisco for the first time last September I had no problem with the homeless. I guess it helps to be 6'3" tall and 220 lbs though. I would like to hear from people who live in San Francisco to confirm what I read that the city has some of the most progressive services for the homeless in the Nation. I don't know if this is the reason why I saw so many homeless or was it that housing in San Francisco is so expensive that even people with reasonable incomes could even be homeless.

Here in DC I quoted an article which said that we had about 15,000 homeless people at any given time, but I believe those statistics are about a decade old. I read an article recently that estimated that there are about 8,000 homeless on the streets of Washington itself and a noticeable increase of homeless in the nearby suburbs. I wonder if this is trend in other metros. As the center city gentrifies and housing prices soar has this made the homeless problem worse and has it forced many homeless people to disembark to the close in suburbs. There seems to be a war against the homeless here in DC. The city seems to want the homeless to leave Downtown DC and be warehoused in mainly industrial areas out of site and out of mind. Have other recently gentrified ciites (Atlanta, Chicago, New York) experienced the same pattern. An unofficial move to push the Homeless from the Downtown area and relocate them to mostly poorer areas or to industrial areas. Here in DC I know the Union Mission which is currently located on prime property on 14th St. (main thoroughfare through Downtown) has been sold for 14 million dollars and will be closed and moved to another part of town. I think we all know what is going to take its place yet more overpriced condominiums.

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Actually I work with a homeless woman. Not all people you see out on the street are homeless. Conversely, many people who are homeless are not out wandering the streets. They often live in shelters, their cars, going between friends, etc. That's the real issue there. Homelessness is a much different face than what you often see in the city.

Having said that, Boston has a fair number of street people. I think any larger city is going to have some - in many cases they are not just poor but also have mental or other issues. One It's easier for those people to survive in a larger city than a small one. Likewise, warmer climates and such tend to have more visible street people, as it is easy to live outside in the temperate climate of San Francisco, while if you stay out on the street overnight in Minneapolis during the winter, they face a huge risk of dying. I think you tend to find more use of shelters.

I think the solution lay in recognizing homelessness is not necessarily a sign of no job and living on the street, and in recognizing that much of the street living problem needs to be addressed with better social services.

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Actually I work with a homeless woman. Not all people you see out on the street are homeless. Conversely, many people who are homeless are not out wandering the streets. They often live in shelters, their cars, going between friends, etc. That's the real issue there. Homelessness is a much different face than what you often see in the city.

Having said that, Boston has a fair number of street people. I think any larger city is going to have some - in many cases they are not just poor but also have mental or other issues. One It's easier for those people to survive in a larger city than a small one. Likewise, warmer climates and such tend to have more visible street people, as it is easy to live outside in the temperate climate of San Francisco, while if you stay out on the street overnight in Minneapolis during the winter, they face a huge risk of dying. I think you tend to find more use of shelters.

I think the solution lay in recognizing homelessness is not necessarily a sign of no job and living on the street, and in recognizing that much of the street living problem needs to be addressed with better social services.

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Temps near 70*F all year round are pretty appealing when you have to live outside. But I would assume that California has a lot more homeless in the coastal areas and probably less in the northern, colder parts, so the homeless concentration is exaggerated in places like LA and San Diego.

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In South Carolina, some cities think that the homess are being bussed in from other cities in the region. I find this quite amusing. The homeless situation in Columbia, our state's capital, is no different that the others y'all have mentioned. There are two homeless missions located in the center city, and the homess frequent the major destinations that draw in people (public bulidings, parks, the CBD, entertainment districts, etc). The City proposed a new homess shelter in an industrial area, but that flopped because its also where USC's stadium is, so nobody liked the idea of homess people harrassing tailgaters. Basicly, there WILL be a new homess shelter (combined with an education center, job placement etc, its just a matter of finalizing a location. The City also set up a new court to deal with minor infractions that homeless people (and others) tend to make, so that the courts won't be tied up with these cases. They want people to come downtown and not have to worry about panhandlers. Its a major issue as of late. More people are living downtown (or want to) and there is more interest in the urban entertainment/nightlife/shopping districts downtown, so more people are frustrated at the concept of having to deal with homess and pandhandlers all the time. We have a thread dedicated to the homeless problem in Coumbia in the Columbia forum. Please use the link in my signature if you want to read more.

My personal view is that its just part of the city, and in my state's case, its just a part of growing up. You can't escape homelessness, so you may as well try and deal with it. I am all for helping them out, and giving them a leg up if need be. But that doesn't mean that the homeless should be given prime realestate.

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Again, homeless is not the same as panhandlers. Most homeless are not out panhandling, and there are panhandlers who do have a home. So long as people try to get rid of panhandlers by mistreating the homeless, you are only going to make the problem worse. As far as panhandlers go, there's not much you can easily do about them by passing a few laws. They aren't out there simply because it's their job. They have few other recourses, find this better than the others, and probably are suffering from such mental issues, infections, and drug problems they don't know what they are doing anyway. So start treating their problems and fix them, then you won't have them out panhandling.

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While you are right that its not the same problem- they are often related.

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