Homelessness is Killing People and Causing Epidemics

Homelessness has become a threat to public health in San Diego. Around 20 people died in a Hepatitis A epidemic blamed on homelessness in the city 2017.

The outbreak was so serious that the city tried to move the homeless off the streets and into a “tent city,” arrested the homeless, and sprayed sidewalks with chemicals to prevent the spread of the disease, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on November 13. Notice that the national media did not report on such an important story.

The homeless were blamed for the outbreak because 11 of the 20 who died were reportedly living on the streets. Around 370 people were hospitalized because of Hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus that affects the liver and can cause liver failure, the Mayo Clinic reported.

City Tries to Heard Homeless into a Camp

The most disturbing aspect of this terrible story was the way that the city responded to it. Homeless people were given a choice of moving to a camp or face arrest.

The city created a tent city for the homeless near Balboa Park and had the police arrest any homeless person who did not move into it, The Union-Tribune reported. Around 270 homeless people were arrested for “encroachment” and “illegal lodging” in September and 149 cited.

Those cited could receive fines of $277 or $150, Michael Ruiz, with the San Diego Public Defender’s Office said. Ruiz did not say how homeless people with no job or money would pay the fine.

This policy will remind many people of the internment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast during World War II. The federal government gave the Japanese Americans a choice of move to what President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) called “concentration camps” or get arrested for staying in their own homes.

Disturbingly, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that policy was constitutional in the infamous Korematsu decision in 1944. Since that decision has never been overturned[1] the City of San Diego’s horrendous policy might be constitutional until courts overturn it.

Like the FDR administration, the city of San Diego is claiming that “public safety” gives it the right to arrest people that refuse to report to a camp. Worse, the city is also claiming that it has the right to make simply being in town a crime.

Why aren’t we talking about Homelessness?

The worst part of this story is that the city is not solving the problem. The homeless problem can be solved by simply building or providing housing for the poor.

This can take the form of a rent voucher or public housing. There is empty land around San Diego including some underused military bases. Why not build enough public housing for the homeless; it can be financed with federal housing authority bonds.

Such construction would create jobs, and stimulate the economy. We could also use the Job Corps to build some of the housing and teach construction trades to some of the poor.

San Diego’s camp for the homeless, a national disgrace.

Disturbingly, nobody in Washington seems have noticed this story or taken action about it. The real estate developer president and the Democratic and Republican leadership in Congress have been silent about it. Nor has Oprah Winfrey who is supposed to be the savior of American progressivism said a thing.

The national media has also been disturbingly silent about this. The reporters and Democratic leaders, who are obsessed about President Trump’s use of the word “shit” a term that is neither shocking nor offensive, cannot seem to care about people dying of a preventable disease in one of our great cities.

One has to wonder how many Americans have to die before we start doing something about homelessness and the housing crisis. Perhaps it is time for a new Poor People’s March on Washington.

Something has to be done to wake our leaders up before more people die. Homelessness is killing people we need to face that truth and deal with the problem. Worse homelessness is becoming a threat to our freedom and constitutional rights. One wonders will it take a disease that starts killing the wealthy to get our leaders to do something.

 

[1] A U.S. District judge did overturn the conviction of Fred Korematsu the man convicted in the decision in 1983 but the Supreme Court itself has never revisited the matter.