(UR) Sacramento — It is downright shocking when a city offers the homeless a modicum of dignity. Recovery-oriented care of those who have no place to lay their heads at night is more than negligible in many states. Some have even privatized the ‘clearing out’ of the homeless, rather than deal with the growing trend. Others have a more humane solution to dealing with the problem.
One city is paying workers from Cascadia Cleanup $240 an hour for a three-person crew for “encampment cleanup in designated locations as needed,” in order to trash the homeless’ few belongings.
In Seattle, more than 400 people live under a freeway bridge in a place called ‘the jungle.’ The homeless there keep fires burning through the day and night to “keep the rats away.”
Conversely, the city of Sacramento is starting a pilot program for public bathroom facilities to those experiencing homelessness.
Sacramento is calling the mobile facilities “Pit Stop.” It will provide toilets, sinks, used needle receptacles, and dog waste stations. The restrooms will be open seven days a week with attendants from 8 am to 6 pm. The city plans to run the program for six months and study the impact of treating people with respect, instead of throwing their belongings in a trash dumpster.
San Francisco has a similar program which operates more than a dozen locations around the city.
While it doesn’t provide the homeless with what they need most — homes — it does give them the most basic facilities required on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Utah reduced chronic homelessness by over 90 percent by giving the homeless a place to live. If programs like Housing First were coupled with decent treatment of the homeless, it might be easier to address their other needs, such as proper medical care, gainful employment, and psychiatric treatment.
“The people experiencing homelessness in Sacramento have limited access to toilets and lavatories,” said council member Jeff Harris.“As we work towards more permanent solutions to end homelessness in our City, this program is complementary in that it addresses an urgent need.”
For now, city leaders in Sacramento are providing a safe, clean, and private alternative for those who don’t have a two-bedroom, two-bath abode to retire to.
Recognizing the growing trend of homelessness, instead of trying to sweep it away, is the first step toward fixing the problem. A report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors proves that homelessness is growing rapidly in America’s biggest cities. Global rates of homelessness are also escalating.
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