Monday Forum: Homeless need a dose of tough love

August 26, 2013 

20001213 HOMELESSNESS

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KURT STRAZDINS

— Columbia’s homeless policies have failed. They amount to simply relocating the Titanic, which is denial.

Reality fixes problems. People have the civil right to be able-bodied loafers, but to expect others to feed them is irresponsible, self-destructive and predatory.

Neither the Constitution nor the Bible supports sluggards: “If any one will not work, neither let him eat” ( 2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Endless free food delays escaping this crippling lifestyle. It perpetuates homelessness. It’s enslaving, shortsighted. Link food to commitment. Meet legitimate needs like the mother who just lost her job.

Confrontation precedes recovery. Even sidewalk conversations might graciously remind homeless panhandlers that most adults are not homeless. Help them identify the thief stealing their home: drug or alcohol addiction, sloth, legal, family issues, recent layoff? Discuss catching the thief.

Enforce strong vagrancy ordinances. Taxpayers and businesses want safer streets. Allowing hundreds with no visible means of support to roam the streets uplifts no one. It weakens and degrades.

The prodigal son’s hunger motivated him to change. Doctors and dentists routinely cause pain to produce a greater good.

Fred Kerr

West Columbia

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