Tuesday, July 22, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Homeless in Davis

By
From page A10 | June 29, 2014 |

The front page headline on Tuesday’s paper reads “No handouts for homeless on the street,” as if it were a command, from a new City group that seems to have representatives from many sectors, yet no actual homeless people on the committee.

I have often been asked for money by homeless people in Davis. However, I do not recall ever having a negative interaction with any of them. While I do not often give them money individually, I do make donations to local non-profit organizations that, I’m told, supposedly help our local homeless population. The process of doing so, however, is confusing. Davis seems to have no singular location or organization comparable to Sacramento’s Loaves and Fishes, which provides many necessary services to Sacramento’s homeless population. We in Davis need such a single-source receiving organization for meaningful contributions to aid our local homeless residents. We also need to know precisely how this organization actually helps (or will help) the homeless, and that our contributions to it will not be wasted on bureaucratic activities or diverted to other recipients.

The United States seems to be one of the world’s only developed countries content to treat certain innocent but unfortunate human beings as if they were so much discarded waste. When I spent considerable time in Taipei, Taiwan, a very dense metropolitan area of 7 million people, the only people I saw begging on the streets were Buddhist monks, who did so as part of a well-accepted religious tradition two thousand years old.

I would like to think Davis has more compassion than the average American city government or citizenry. If we are being asked not to give money directly to homeless people, then give us a very specific, concrete means by which we can help this disenfranchised group of Davis “residents” indirectly.

Robert L. Thayer
Davis

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 8 comments

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  • PCJune 27, 2014 - 6:37 pm

    I agree. I see the same individuals in the same locations and wonder why isn't something done to get these people some help. Going downtown to shop or eat has become less attractive because of the people going through garbage cans and asking for money. I would donate to a group that was effective at dealing with this problem.

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  • Rich RifkinJune 27, 2014 - 9:06 pm

    "Davis seems to have no singular location or organization comparable to Sacramento’s Loaves and Fishes, which provides many necessary services to Sacramento’s homeless population." ................ What about Davis Community Meals? DCM does just about everything for the homeless in Davis. If you want to know more about Davis Community Meals, look them up on Davis Wiki. .............. A second choice would be STEAC, which provides a lot of assistance to the poor, though not necessarily all homeless poor.

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  • mootcherJune 29, 2014 - 9:15 am

    I too thought the article lacked both empathy and alternatives. The most it offered was when it said a plan was in the works. Sort of a don't help the poor we will get around to doing something someday story. I thought it was shameful.

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  • stJune 29, 2014 - 1:49 pm

    My solution to the homeless asking for donations, presumably for food, is to buy up a number of gift cards for food from various food franchises/restaurants here in Davis & Woodland. When I am approached, I hand the person a card indicating where it can be redeemed. If you consider this solution, be certain that the business from which you purchase, will not redeem for anything but food....not money..!!

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  • Greg JohnsonJune 29, 2014 - 2:44 pm

    I think you may underestimate the resourcefulness of some homeless. The gift card could be sold at a discount for cash to buy booze and drugs. I believe giving food directly is the best thing. It is hard to pawn off a burger or a sandwich.

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  • -June 29, 2014 - 6:31 pm

    I agree with Greg. st, I think you are very naive.

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  • markJune 29, 2014 - 3:46 pm

    I read the “No handout for homeless” article and I think it’s a great start. A No Loitering ordinance for downtown Davis would also help deter panhandling, as well as increased police patrols in the parks. There’s nothing compassionate about fueling someone’s drug and alcohol addiction by giving them money.

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  • Carla LehnJuly 02, 2014 - 9:54 am

    Here are two interesting recent stories from 60 minutes and the New York Times on other approaches. While Davis might not be able to go this alone, a regional project might considered. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/100000-homes-housing-homeless-saves-money/ http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/30/opinion/let-them-eat-cash.html?_r=2&utm_content=bufferb8e56&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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