Yes, we are criminalizing homelessness

December 24, 2015
Homeless sign

The sign that greets visitors to our community gives a subtle warning to the homeless that they can’t sleep in their cars or RVs on the streets of SLO. Otherwise, they will get a ticket.

OPINION by TIM WAAG

Where can the homeless go without getting ticketed?

Cities are judged by how they treat the less fortunate. On that basis, the “happiest place on earth” is doing poorly. SLO County has about 150 shelter beds for the 2,000-plus homeless. We must have an answer to the question posed by the homeless: “Where can I sleep without being ticketed?”

Until our government has an answer to that question, they should instruct law enforcement not to ticket the homeless for trying to sleep.

Across our nation, laws that make it a crime to not have a place to live are spreading. In the city of San Luis Obispo, they are already here. We treat stray dogs better than we treat our homeless. I have had homeless people tell me they would love to live in one of the dog kennels at the local humane society, where they would have a safe, secure, dry, clean place to live.

Clearly, there are not enough shelter beds. Even if there were, our shelters don’t admit those who drink, curse, have a drug addiction or mental illness, or even a pet dog. Many of our homeless are children, veterans or the elderly. In this relatively affluent community, we should be able to find a way to shelter and feed everyone.

There are affordable, un-subsidized solutions out there, as I have written over and over again in other articles. There simply isn’t enough money to subsidize affordable housing for all who meet the criteria (homeless or low income). Unfortunately, the government officials I have met with have ruled out all “common sense” solutions to housing the un-housed and creating affordable housing.

Tim Waag has lived in San Luis Obispo since 1992. He manages a law firm and donates time to multiple homeless services organizations.

 


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94 Comments

  1. Rich in MB says:

    They can all come car camp in Morro Bay….on any given night I can show you 10-15 cars with people living in them.

    (-2) 2 Total Votes - 0 up - 2 down
  2. Ted Slanders says:

    Tim,

    I am sorry about your lack of reading comprehension. Once again, and for the last time so as to save you any further embarrassment, the twelve churches in question of the San Luis Obispo “interfaith Coalition for the Homeless” DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT all help the homeless on a 24/7/365 basis. Instead, these pseudo churches to Jesus’ word alternate and take turns, once a month, to provide for the homeless at their respective houses of worship. Again, what’s wrong with this picture? Do you get it?

    Let me make it as plain as I can for you; all of the divisions of Christianity, aka, the different denominational churches in question, including the others listed, should be taking care of the homeless EVERYDAY without question. In doing so, then they will not be hypocritical to the direct words of Jesus the Christ relative to His demands regarding the caring of the homeless population. Get it?

    Your circular reasoning relative to my alleged “House of Worship” and helping the homeless may be entertaining to you and your equally minded cohorts, but falls flat on its proverbial face in your embarrassment, and in reality, understood?

    Firstly, I do not need a “House of Worship” to spread the true words of the Savior, besides, Jesus does not dwell in churches to begin with. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.” (Acts 17:24)

    Secondly, I help the homeless when I can with food, clothing, gift certificates to food markets. I also give them ways to pray their way out of being homeless, but they always tell me prayer isn’t helping them with their situation. I then tell them they’re not believing in Jesus enough to have their prayers answered, which is the trigger for any prayer to be addressed.

    Jesus stated; “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, BELIEVING, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22) Key word: “believe,” which triggers the prayer in a direct absolute manner in receiving your prayer request, and in this case, not being homeless anymore. It’s just that simple. Prayers not being answered by Christian churches in respect to the well being of the homeless, seemingly fall under the guise of said churches not “believing” enough in Jesus the Christ as the passage above so states. BLASPHEME!

    Tim, when conversing with me relative to Christianity, next time, do not bring a Boy Scout pocket-knife to a gun fight, okay? Thank you.

    (-4) 14 Total Votes - 5 up - 9 down
    • Tim M. says:

      Mr. Slander, thanks for helping the homeless with food, clothing, and gift certificates. They need all the help they can get. Good day, my friend.

      (1) 11 Total Votes - 6 up - 5 down
    • Tim M. says:

      I just trying to suggest that before you criticize the groups that are helping, perhaps you could criticize the groups that were NOT. Were that the case, I would join you in your criticism. For me, it has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with Christianity. Clearly, for you, it does.

      (-4) 8 Total Votes - 2 up - 6 down
      • Ted Slanders says:

        Tim,

        I have all the right to criticize the pseudo-christian churches of the ungodly “Interfaith Coalition for the Homeless” that consists of twelve churches, therefore, only ONE church per year helps the homeless. Despicable!

        It would be better if these Hell bound churches wouldn’t help at all, because when they do, it is PART TIME, ONE TIME per year which is an outright embarrassment! Drive by one of these pseudo churches of the aforementioned coalition on a Sunday morning, and see the Detroit iron that is parked in their parking lots. If they actually followed the words of Jesus, which is the reason why they’re in church in the first place, then how can they drive a Mercedes S class and only help the homeless ONE TIME PER YEAR? WWJD?

        Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21) You will have to learn that 99.99 percent of all Christians are in name only, and are not true Christians that will be skyward bount upon Jesus’ return.

        I am saddened in that Christianity has no part for you relative to the homeless in our area. I can understand your position in that if you don’t have this faith, then you don’t have to be burdened with its hypocrisy to the topic at hand. Nonetheless, you’ll burn in Hell upon your demise.

        (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down

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