I find this story very interesting. A woman with a beach-front duplex near the Ulehawa Beach park in Hawaii was fed up with the homeless encampment across the road from her. Marianne Beaman had lived there for 9 years.
“I was mad about it, believe me,” she said. “All this noise … and all the drugs and alcohol at either end of the park.”
Today, she resides in that encampment, in a tent less than 50 yards from the duplex she and her husband, Bert, rented for nine years.
“I lived right there in that very house,” she said, pointing to the beachfront property. “We made the hop from right there to right here. We’ve seen it from both sides.”
Now the city is closing the park for a week beginning February 10, 2008, so that it can evict the homeless permanently from the park. Now Marianne is concerned about losing yet another place to live. Yet another systematic homeless eviction process by another city with no place to send the displaced. The Beamans had never been homeless before their landlord decided to convert their duplex unit into a vacation rental a while back. Six months ago, the couple and their two dogs began an anxious and reluctant occupation of Nani Kai Beach.
“At first we said, ‘We’re not going to move to the beach, we’re going to find a place to live,’ ” Marianne Beaman said. “My husband works. I’m on Social Security. But, we could not find a place we could afford. We don’t have any relatives here we can live with. So, finally we used our savings to build a shelter that would protect us from the weather.
“Now, we don’t have any idea where we’re supposed to go.”
Hopefully this will never happen to any of our Marietta city leaders nor to any of our readers. But it does happen to tens of thousands of people nearly every month that never had a clue that it could happen to them. It has happened to perhaps thousands of people in our small city, considering that the homed/homeless situation has considerable turnover in their makeup. For every homeless person, there are likely 8 to 10 that have gone before them.
The program director of MUST Ministries has said he thinks there are as many as 1000 homeless men and women unsheltered in Cobb County Georgia at this very moment.
The last homeless count I’m aware of found only 330 unsheltered in January 2006. The truth may lie somewhere between as it a simple fact that there is no way a small group of housed volunteers can find a homeless man in the woods if he is not interested in being found. And none of them are. We know of about 150 that are fed breakfast on Sunday mornings in one small area of Marietta. This is an area that is sparsely populated by the homeless because the camping areas are almost non existent compared to south of the city and in the county.
MUST and their free lunch program is a draw to be sure, but the fact is, only a very few of the city’s homeless live near there for lack of cover. It is an industrial and business area with crisscrossing roads and very few areas with trees and shrubs to hide campsites.
Someone once said that we all, each and every one of us are at most only two tragedies from homelessness. It could be a family illness coupled with a job loss or any number of similar situations, including fire, earthquake, storm, abandonment, death of loved one, mental illness, service in war, or simply a landlord deciding to use his property in a different manner as the Beamans found out. Also we all know that foreclosure is forcing hundreds of thousands out of their homes. Couple that with another unfortunate event and many of these will be homeless. Unexpectedly and unwillingly homeless through no fault of their own.
Combinations of these unexpected events can push almost anyone into homelessness at any time. Not drugs, not alcohol, not laziness, not gambling, not any of those things. Think about it. Many of the homeless in the woods near your neighborhood are just plain people like yourself that have hit a couple of speed bumps in their life too many.
Repeat after me: “There but for the Grace of God, go I”. Say it 3 times.
But then, what does Marietta Care? If you have read any of the 6 or 7 previous posts, the answer is that the City That Doesn’t Care cares nothing about the homeless! They have sent the Storm Troupers to roust them out and dump their life support systems into the garbage trucks.
In the dead of winter. On the eave of the two coldest nights of the year. Even with snow on the ground. Without their blankets, without their tents, without their backpacks, even some without their shoes. Yes, even the mentally ill who have no idea what is happening have been run over. Jack-Legged Storm Troupers? Maybe not quite that bad, but the homeless say it was not too far from it. Heartless, certain. Some of our police did not like the action taken, but each and every one knows they must do their duty. When the Mayor says go, when the Council says clean them out… no choice. None indeed. Even our veterans, our homeless heroes. Out. Out. Out! You left some trash. You made somebody’s employee nervous when she saw you standing under a bridge the other day. Out!
This is the same shamefull city counsil that refused the VFW the right to give out flags alongside their float on Veteran’s day while the Mayor rode up front in grand style! Now our homeless veteran friends clearly understand how Marietta supports our troups. Particularly those in need. Al, Perry OUT! Take your flags with you!
So says Marietta, The City That Doesn’t Care!