The homeless in this country have a society all their own and way of survival that is different from everyone else. They create communities all their own and they carve out their lives in any way they can. This is evident in Santa Ana, California. A tent city along a Santa Ana River bike trail was recently dismantled, where authorities found quite the mess.
They discovered almost 14,000 needles and 400 tons of debris and refuse as they worked within the emptied city between January 22 and March 3. It was a city that held 700 homeless people who were trying to eke out their existence.
Contained within the tent city was 13,950 needles and 5,279 pounds of hazardous materials. These hazardous materials included things like human waste, propane, and pesticides along an almost 2 mile stretch of this bike trail. The hazardous materials were left over garbage that they people had obtained in order to try and survive and do what they needed to do to survive.
The residents of the small city were moved to various locations throughout Orange County, California. Some of the residents were moved to local motels to stay until they could figure out the next course of action to help them. Others were sent to various treatment and mental health facilities. Some of the residents had been living in the tent city for upwards of a decade.
This action was prompted by things that the city wanted to do with the area. Santa Ana is looking to conduct an environmental remediation program all over the city and this was one of the areas that needed attention. They are looking to remove 2 to 3 inches of soil and various tree trimming projects to reshape the area for people to use for outdoor recreation. This relocation project will be the beginning of how Orange County deals with the homeless populations in other areas of the county.
This is a microcosm for larger issues of homelessness in this country and it happens to people for a plethora of different reasons. Some people fall on hard times and they lose their jobs and they have a hard time finding their way back on track. Some homeless people have drug problems that keep them from holding down stable jobs or conducting productive lives. Then there are some people who are in and out of the mental health revolving door and they are not able to function in regular life but have nowhere else to live.
There are numerous reasons why people end up homeless in this country but each reason is another societal problem in it of itself. Consistent employment, drug addiction, and mental health are all issues that are prevalent in the United States and we have not figured out a way to handle them so that people are able to live the best lives that they can. These are the types of problems that need to be looked into and the answers won’t be easy, but there at least needs to be a start in addressing them. It starts with conversations and small actions by people that can bring them together to figure out viable courses of action.
What do you think we should do about the homeless problem in America?