Tent Camps on the Rise

The idea that tent camps are a new thing due to the economic downturn is absurd: they’ve been around long before the downturn and they’ll still be here even after (if?) we get the “all-clear”. Opening line aside, the article does hit on one of the major issues:

The camps have often led to standoffs between local governments that say the camps violate housing ordinances and homeless rights advocates who argue that people struggling to get back on their feet need a permanent place to stay.

What we have here is a bureaucratic process crashing head-on with what we deem as a basic human right to shelter. “They’re breaking codes,” say the officials. But where are else they supposed to go? The fundamental disconnect is here:

Port officials say the camp violates city codes. The officials add that they have tried to find the camp’s residents another place to live.

They tried to find another place–they apparently failed. So now what? There are still people without a place to stay. That fact hasn’t changed.

It’s common when dealing with homelessness: people and governments and institutions try to make a difference; when they can’t, sometimes other people/organizations can step in. And when they can’t, people go without.

And thus we’re back to people fending for themselves. Meanwhile, discussion goes on around them.

CNN: Homeless find temporary haven in tent camps


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