[ExI] what would you do?

John Klos john at ziaspace.com
Wed Oct 11 16:28:03 UTC 2023


> OK fair enough.
> John do you have any ideas regarding that park in San Jose with the 
> walking trail that goes along the creek?  The best I could think of was 
> put up a chain link fence along that creek to separate the encampment 
> from the park. That might be the ideal situation, because the homeless 
> who live along that creek are not actually hurting anything there, and 
> the city is likely to let them stay, so long as they don't commit random 
> violence against the pedestrians in the park.

Information is good.

Getting a fence put up in a park is one of those things that could be as 
simple as asking the right parks person or could just as easily be one of 
those Kafka-esque never ending nightmares of bureaucracy, so I'd write a 
letter and send it to people who might be in a position to do something, 
but I'd assume it might never happen and wouldn't put much time in to it 
beyond that.

> I still don't know how we should deal with that refurbished park map the 
> scout made which shows the trail down along the creek and no indication 
> there is danger in walking there.

For the map, I'd recommend contacting a printing place or two and pricing 
some pre-printed Post-it pads with a small segment of the map showing the 
encampment with some notes telling people about it. I'd deliberately not 
use language intended to scare, but intended to inform. Some people will 
use that information to avoid the area, and others will use that in 
positive ways, like offering food, clothing, services.

We have a tendency in this country to accept problems framed in ridiculous 
ways. For instance, people will tell you that a hospital has to charge 
$10,000 a night for an emergency room visit because of a wild assortment 
of assumptions that really should be questioned: How will they pay for 
"insurance"? How will they pay for administration? How will they pay for 
their investment in multimillion dollar MRI scanners and such?

It's a game, because every uninsured person who stays overnight during an 
emergency room visit means a $10k writeoff for the hospital.

In reality, we can change those underlying assumptions: change the laws 
about liability to discourage abuse of litigation, limit administration so 
it isn't literally a third of our costs, disincentivize extortion 
level pricing and incentivize return on investment by actually using a 
thing. This is why it's possible to go to Mexico and get an MRI for less 
than it'd cost you to get dental x-rays here in the US.

How does that apply to homelessness? Let's look at assumptions: One of the 
biggest is that if we simply offer homes to homeless, it will cost too 
much. That, of course, assumes the government has to pay fair market 
value, has to pay property taxes, et cetera, which, when one thinks about 
it, is pretty stupid.

Finland's ability to offer homes to homeless isn't based on some radically 
different market. It's based on the idea that Finns consider people, 
including homeless people, humans, and they treat people as humans. They 
don't seek to punish people, they don't seek to stigmatize social 
services, and they don't seek to make providing services a profit center 
for people who already have too much money.

We can't do that in the United States because most of us don't see 
homeless as people. You can interview people in the street who'd be more 
than happy to see homeless be put on some random train to who-knows-where 
rather than keep them where they are. There are other times in history 
when people were offered the choice to keep people around or have them 
stuck on trains and carted off elsewhere, and guess what people chose?

We won't fix homelessness by trying to make a profit off of them.


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