2040 Dark Matters.

Comic Vote

There are few things as foul as a Folgers can full of human waste. I hesitate to describe the experiences with them any further. I can’t even begin to imagine how big cities deal with the homeless population. Even a very small number are remarkably destructive. Even out here in America’s armpit there’s been a spike in homeless people. Abandoned structures sometimes become dangerous because of it. It’s a sad state of affairs, but better minds than mine haven’t solved the problem so I doubt I’m going to come up with any solutions any time soon.


1. Remove the restrictions on low-cost housing that were designed to clean up the “urban blight” of poor people and replace their homes with ones the poor can’t afford, forcing them into the streets. Allow the construction of tenement housing and tiny house communities and get rid of minimum acreage requirements, and stop preventing landlords from raising rates in tandem with the rate of inflation and taxes, which drives low-cost rentals out of the market and stimulates luxury ones.

2. Stop arresting them and seizing all their property for using drugs and harming no one, or being drunk in public unless they actually cause a problem.

3. Stop forbidding businesses from hiring homeless people for a wage that doesn’t hurt the company.

Just a few ideas to start, but all things that 100 years of literature and experience have shown exacerbate the issue.

3. Oh my god, 3.
I mean, how do you ever expect someone to stop being homeless if it is literally illegal to make the money they require to pay for a home?

As near as I can tell, no one in power actually wants to “cure” homelessness. They just want the homeless gone, which isn’t the same thing at all.

I think #3 is supposed to be a shot at minimum wage laws, and not a shot at say…the other expenses required for work. (paying for uniform, IDs, etc.)

Yeah #3 is a full broadside at fair wages – something the states has never been known for or really keen about really.
It is why there is tipping at restaurants in the states yet not in Europe.
Something about wage laws or some such about slavery.

Funny, i recall multiple French restaurants figuring the tip for me and adding it in.Like it was not up to me about tipping.

Oh. I thought it was a shot at the thing where you have to have an address to get a job. Which probably isn’t actually a legal requirement, but a de facto one. (It might be a side effect of some other regulations, though. I’ve always assumed it had something to do with income tax.).

If it is about “minimum wage is bullshit”, then I respectfully disagree. It is bad for nobody to mandate employers pay their employees enough to put food on the table and a roof over their head and a shirt on their back. That America has failed to even uphold that minimal standard is an embarrassment.

On #2… if you think drugs or alcohol doesn’t hurt anyone but the user, I suggest you speak to any spouse, friend, or dependent of any addict. Be prepared for an eye-opener.

Other than that, we can largely agree. We need inexpensive housing, especially in the modern era where more and more people are falling under the poverty line. However, don’t blind yourself to the problems inherent in these tenements, because there’s all kinds of abuses that were going on with them before they were effectively outlawed. It’s not a simple solution, and requires a more nuanced response.

Sure, building up a bunch of brownstone is a fairly straightforward proposition, but the landlord is just going to try to squeeze as much out of his tenants as he can anyway, with lower profit margins per door he has to be a lot more strict about collection and enforcement which never ends well (unless it is government subsidized, which is a whole ‘nother rabbit hole to go down). And of course there’s a real safety issue as they quickly become ghettos with all the crime and danger that comes with it.

It was the IRS who didn’t like people with no permanent address and no bank account getting paid, because it was harder to tax them. I don’t disagree it’s created a feedback loop, and I don’t disagree that it has become nearly impossible to stop being homeless once you become homeless, but at least place blame on the right organization. It wasn’t until after 9/11 that the FBI started agreeing with them over security concerns of people slipping in undocumented, working day-wage labor, until they can do something Really Bad ™. It’s an unlikely scenario of course, but that’s what happens when you let paranoia overrule common sense.

But you have to admit that lots and lots of people have spouses who drink or smoke weed and it doesn’t hurt them at all. My point is, if some homeless guy manages to get a bottle of cheap liquor or a joint, if it’s literally the only source of good feelings he has, don’t take it, and don’t also seize his $4 in change under civil asset forfeiture as “drug money.”

The problem with your complaint about abuses is this; do you prefer them homeless? I get it, you want everyone to be in decent, respectable housing, as does every person who isn’t some sort of sadist or sociopath. I’m right there with you. But given the choice between a slum, and nothing, between an unfinished wood floor, and nothing, between a leaking joint bathroom, and nothing…I’d take anything over nothing. You also have to consider that we’re not even comparing bad housing to no housing, we’re comparing sub-par housing that is sometimes run by bad people to no housing; lots of tenement housing used to be run by old couples renting out the rooms of their house, or immigrants who set them up for other immigrants from their same country, and were run specifically to help these people. This also was much easier for people who lacked things like credit and references to find a place to stay; it might not be much, but it’s a place to start, if you’re fresh out of prison or just arrived from Honduras. I’d rather have at least a decent solution be enacted than advocate for a perfect solution that never happens, leaving people to die in the gutter.

I think you may be misunderstanding my cautionary sheet anchor with an opposed point on the debate, and I would respectfully remind you that I fully agree we need better low-income housing. I’m just pointing out that *by itself, with no further regulatory and/or security standards*, it isn’t going to help very many people, and may actually make things worse for some.

In addition to building the brownstones, you’d need to also create significant regulatory control over their management, it would not be profitable in and of itself in most areas therefore will need to be subsidized, which brings up all kinds of political battles, and it would need to be properly patrolled, which means a police force that is actually properly trained and paid what the position is worth so you don’t just attract people who want the badge to abuse its privileges, and have enough candidates that you can weed them out during training without becoming critically short on the number of graduates.

There’s MANY problems involved here, MANY dovetailed issues. Just building the residence isn’t going to be nearly enough, not by a long shot. And all of these safeguards will have to be put in place simultaneously or else the areas are going to get even more dangerous than homeless people aimlessly wandering around, because they will naturally have drug dealers gravitate to them, bringing guns and gangs and all the other assorted issues they bring with them.

At least a homeless person is free to avoid the ghettos. Give him a home in one, and you actually increase his personal safety risk. Until you can make a home for him which he is both able to afford AND is safer than his current state, it isn’t much of a benefit for them.

It doesn’t help that I don’t think anyone builds modest homes anymore-at all. Its quarter million (or higher) dollar high ceilinged cookie cutter homes or trailer houses. If you want anything else, its an old home (that a bank won’t lend money on unless it has enough upgrades to make it no longer affordable) a duplex, or an apartment.

Quarter Mill? Is that all. You need to hit the satellite cities, not even the burbs and settle for a small condo for that kind of change. News today is that single family homes in the city propper dropped a few % points down to 1.3Million. on “average”.
Even with the minimum wage laws here, those at that level either live in an ancestral home, city housing or commute a ridiculous distance.

I was walking through downtown Seattle, recently and saw a sign on the street advertising for new condos starting at just over $1mill. I thought: “that’s a sale price they’re bragging about?” That’s the kind of housing prices they were asking when I was in Tokyo back in the mid-80’s (where land is sold by the square meter.)

Yes, a 2-hour commute to work is considered on the low end of average around here.

Amarillo (TX) is the big city to me-as big as I care to visit. What goes on in places bigger than that I can’t imagine anymore than wanting to live somewhere bigger than that. I drive about 18 miles to work in the morning, and it’s not unheard of to meet no-one on the way there. Jealous yet?

Even if there are those who are going to abuse the facilities to their own ends, I still don’t think leaving them homeless is the better alternative here. Of course people want shelter and a bed (or even floor) to sleep on when the weather goes bad. However, at the same time, those same people should also learn to respect the other tenants and vice versa. You don’t cause trouble for the other tenants, they should also not cause trouble for you.

Plus, there does need to be a proper system of checks and balances for landlords so that they don’t abuse their powers to their own ends at the expense of decent tenant living. They can’t raise rents without due rationale and they should be subject to review from an upper tenant board at a specified date and a specified time. If the landlord is found to be in contempt of their duties towards responsible tenant living, they should be replaced effective immediately without eviction to all the other tenants.

That’s what the progressive utopia of Seattle did. And here’s a local news documentary on the results. It’s about an hour long, so come prepared to spend some time.

Among other things, the documentary points out that given a choice between stealing to support their habit, and getting clean and sober ( at public expense) and having a place to live, the “homeless” will choose to stay on the street. It’s not a homeless problem, it’s a drug problem. And an addict will never see any reason to quit until others stop enabling them and allow them to “hit bottom.”

So Alex and Rulette know each other. Did one of them tell the other about the tunnels under the town, or did they learn about them independently?

Its commonly known to locals. John being from Nevada wasn’t familiar with it. Although Alex knows much more than most people, since history is a hobby for her.

I feel the need to mention that homeless aren’t inherently destructive. Perfectly possible to have a couple of homeless around and no damage done. But I’m not qualified to guess at the percentages that are destructive, and since it just takes one…

Homeless — who are truly homeless — aren’t destructive, but drug addicts are. And my experience with street people (working with a downtown mission, etc.) shows that a majority of them are there because they want to be there; it’s a lifestyle choice for them. These people will not be “helped” by any kind of program (public or private) because they simply don’t want it.

Is a local guy who hangs out on street corners around town, all year, wears several layers of clothing, carries all his stuff in a backpack… anyone passing by would assume he’s homeless. Actually owns a nice house, his son lives in it, he sometimes will sleep in the garage on a cot, sometimes takes a nap in the park, sometimes just stays up all night. Apparently it’s just how he wants to live his life. I don’t get it, but he seems happy, and doesn’t hurt anyone, so I guess it’s fine.

As long as they don’t stoop to panhandling or harass other people or commit crimes, I couldn’t care less about how homeless people live.

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