Igor wrote:But you know that the City Council cannot take care of all the poor people in the world, right? Seriously?
I am in the middle politically, and certainly a right-winger compared to the skewed population on this forum. I would be willing to have my taxes increased to allow the city provide food, shelter, clothing, assistance in finding work, and day care assistance to anyone that is in town by midnight tonight. The only conditions would be:
- People addicted to substances would have to agree to begin and continue treatment.
- People that arrive in town after that time will have to rely on state or federal funding.
You cannot solve worldwide problems at the federal level, nor federal problems at the state level, etc. I can give everyone living on Theresa Terrace a job as a Java programmer, and it won't help the crime in that neighborhood. Why? Because the first thing they are going to do when they get a paycheck is MOVE TO SOMEWHERE NICER THAN THERESA TERRACE. Landlords will rent to new people, and the problems will return.
First, we don't have to take care of all the poor people in the world--just the ones who live here. Second, more poor people are perfectly free to move here--you cannot keep them out just because you're afraid that they might use services the city has to offer. They have as much right to live here as you do.
The long-term solution, as Soglin correctly pointed out, is to build the economy--although there's more to it than just increasing the tax base, since the best thing is to help poor people get decent jobs that will give them a chance to get out of poverty. I trust that Soggy knows that, and just chose to emphasize the tax base issue. Anyway, the short and medium-term solutions have to involve increased support and services for the poor. The Occupied folks are reluctant to move because at least there is something there now. They have no guarantee that needed services will increase after they shut down the camp--and in fact the budget Soglin himself put forth cuts services. I don't blame them in the least. It is completely likely that, as soon as the camp is gone, the problems of the poor and the homeless will once again disappear from the city's agenda as the council debates $600,000 bathrooms for a non-existent park. From a strategic standpoint, it makes sense for them to refuse to move or dismantle without assurance that the services they need will actually materialize.
Third, your comment about substance abuse has a lot to unpack around it. There are a lot of reasons that poor people with substance abuse problems fail to complete treatment programs and return to drugs and alcohol. Having to move from place to place, not having reliable transportation to the treatment site (looking at you, Madison Metro, with you ever-shrinking routes and ever-rising fares), having unpredictable work patterns, and the depression and despair that comes from never getting all those factors together to support treatment for any length of time. Plus, as anyone who has tried to kick any kind of habit will attest, even under the best of circumstances it is a very difficult task. To succeed in treatment programs, the poor and the homeless need more understanding and more support, not more barriers coupled with more deadlines,