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Even Our Pets Have Houses

An article by Jacqueline Garcia in today’s edition about the problems of many homeless living in the Arroyo Seco in Highland Park points out that even when offered services that could lead to a place to live, many of the homeless will refuse assistance.

That was the case this last week when dozens of homeless men and women were evicted from shoddy, makeshift encampments along the Arroyo Seco river channel and Pasadena Freeway.

Plagued by drug and alcohol addition, mental illness and just plain old distrust of others, it wasn’t surprising that they wanted no part of the help being offered by outreach workers trained to work with the homeless.

Some of the homeless fear their problems will keep them from being able to live with a partner or refuse a place to live because they don’t want to follow the socially acceptable rules they would be required to follow.

As true as it may be that many will continue to refuse help, it’s no reason for the rest of us to write the homeless off or to just shrug our shoulders and think nothing more can be done if they don’t want help.

The problem of homelessness is a problem that affects us all and it’s in all our interests – as a civilized society- to find the means and the resources to reduce the number of people living on the street.

Because the homeless live outside the box, we have to start thinking outside the box. Not every home has to be made up of rooms of four walls, there are other alternatives.

What about areas permitted for year-round tents, or small manufactured igloos where they could live alone, but still have shelter? There could be communal public restrooms and trash facilities, access to health and social services.

We recognize that there are potentially many problems with this idea and there’s no guarantee that tent or igloo dwellers will abide by the rules in this type of setting any more than they did while living on the street.

The point here is that we have great creative minds living among us who are finding solutions to all types of problems, innovating changes to make life better, why can’t we put some of those minds to work on the homeless issue?

It’s what we do for our pets, shouldn’t we give at least the same consideration to our fellow human beings