Nick Welsh’s even-tempered and informative article on homelessness is a welcome change from the recent weeks of charged-up griping and grandstanding about how to serve, or mainly how not to serve, or even more popular, how to wish ill upon our homeless population. Having lived in Santa Barbara for 21 years and having visited downtown at least three times a week for personal and business matters, I have never been harassed in any way by any panhandler or seemingly homeless or dysfunctional person. Thus, I am disgusted by the comments of certain city council members who want to decree what kind of person “deserves” to be on State Street. It is ironic that the council members visited Santa Monica to talk about homeless programs, since they surely would not agree to adding more services or care workers (and, horrors, a tax increase) to address the “homeless issue”. In fact, Ms. Self made it clear that the only information she was interested in after visiting Santa Monica was how to get the homeless off the streets. Having been to Santa Monica recently, I can say that the homeless are still very much a presence, and it seems that they will continue to be a part of that community, so it’s time to just get used to the fact that there are people without homes, and there will be more people without homes in this current political climate. I applaud all of the humane efforts that Santa Barbara has made over the past several years to care for people in desperate straits, and I believe that a community which wants to drive out people because they remind us of our own human vulnerability is a sorry place.


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