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Misguided Protest

And they wonder why we don’t take them seriously.

“Them”, of course, being the very, very, very earnest and self-righteous little leftoids who seem to have an infinite amount of time to protest.

A handful of students from the University of Maryland at Baltimore slept overnight with homeless people gathered on Guilford Avenue to protest recent efforts to move their belongings.

This morning, about 10 students and homeless people marched to City Hall and the offices of the Housing Authority of Baltimore City located on East Fayette Street. Some were holding signs saying: “End homelessness now” and “Homelessness = crime.”

Well, yes, “Homelessness = crime” but probably not in the context this particular protester has in mind.

The protest comes after last week’s actions by the Downtown Partnership, a group representing businesses, which sent workers to clean up cardboard boxes, trash and belongings of homeless people who sleep under the Jones Falls Expressway.

Partnership officials said they only intended to clean the area, but advocates accused the organization of trying to force the homeless to move. The area is near Our Daily Bread soup kitchen.

“We want to let the powers that be, the mayor, the Downtown Partnership, know that people care about this issue,” said Dan Andersen, a 29-year-old student at the university and a member of Project Jump Start, a group that feeds the homeless. “Rather than just move the homeless from the street to street, we need some real change, like affordable housing.”

There is no doubt that homelessness is a problem but homelessness is not caused by a lack of housing (see this HUD report). It is caused by a set of circumstances that has made a person unable attain gainful employment. Some of those circumstances, e.g. mental illness, disability, etc., may be beyond the control of the individual. Other circumstances, e.g. substance abuse, behavioral problems, are not. Regardless of circumstances not having a home does not give one the right to camp out on public or private property.

Moving those homeless who live on the streets off the streets and into emergency and transitional housing is the first step in bringing them into contact with the support systems which can actually help them, if they choose to accept the help. These protesters are a part of the problem not a part of the solution.






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