Thursday morning I went to a crime watch meeting for local business owners, hotel and property managers. We have fantastic officers who are very involved and come by our office often, and it makes one feel things are as they should be.
Manager of a very expensive condo development said she was really tired of seeing Richard around. Richard is a homeless guy who hangs around the area, and he had a leg amputated sometime last year. She said her residents complain about him, but the very same people turn around and give him cash, so it's impossible to make him go away - too much easy free money. Richard was once a lawyer, by the way.
A woman from the PD asked her how she would like to see the issue resolved, but she was too politically correct to say she wanted him just to go away. It was interesting to watch her grasping for some way to say she wanted him gone without saying she wanted him gone.
I mentioned Robert Davila, a sad homeless guy I see on my property about once a week, picking through the dumpster. Robert is actually a handsome and fairly young man, but I think he is mentally ill. He has a habit of turning up when I'm showing the most expensive apartments, ambling casually across the parking lot as though he's walking along a beach. No one ever rents after they've seen Robert, and what can I do? He's sorta my bridge troll and the toll must be paid.
After the woman said maybe the city's homeless services could help Richard, I suggested that for most of these homeless folks, and particularly the rogue homeless who keep their single-serving-Hoovervilles and panhandling beats well away from the teeming masses of homeless, well, they don't relate to other homeless people any more than they relate to society in general. These are people who decided to reject jobs and family and society and tax returns and social security-- they are highly unlikely to be amenable to being warehoused with a bunch of other homeless who they are bright enough recognize as losers.
"What do we do with them?" dithered the lovely young blonde woman.
One of the officers went on to say if you move the cheese away, the mice will look for it elsewhere, and that if area residents stop giving them money, they'll move along to greener pastures.
I said "I wanna know how I can get a gig like that: hanging around drunk all day, people driving by and giving me money for my booze, showering with obliging garden hoses on area lawns."
Most laughed, but the officers roared. I suppose it's refreshing when someone refuses to tippy-toe around the thorny issue of the homeless.