We figure answers would be forthcoming if the folks living behind Albertson’s at Vista and Overland and along or near Shoreline were to relocate to Warm Springs or Harrison Blvd. or even Harris Ranch. Those neighbors have affluence, intelligence, and perhaps even compassion. Perhaps they could suggest a solution if they were able to see the problem first hand.
Unlike the “Hoovervilles” of the Great Depression which were essentially an economic issue, the homeless of today are the result of drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues, life choices, and simply bad luck.
Today, with changes in public opinion, institutions and jails are not the solution. Throughout the USA cities struggle with “what to do with them.” Boise has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars attempting to outlaw panhandling, camping on the streets and other ordinances intended to remove the downtrodden members of society.
Arrests and tickets only clog the courts. It is absurd to expect a destitute homeless person to appear in court or pay a fine. The “system” just charges them with contempt or failure to appear and the “crimes” just multiply.
The well intended, but not real good plan to concentrate even more homeless into the former Salvation Army warehouse on West State Street is a formula of reverse gentrification destined to fail.
Boise officials have been exploring ideas including purchase of hotels, but past purchases have served only to concentrate sex offenders and convicted felons near parks, schools, and student housing.
We are aware of the problem and welcome any solutions from readers.
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