TODD HERMAN

Seattle homeless, kids and a brutal reality

Sep 9, 2016, 5:46 AM
homeless...
Todd Herman feels for the kids with inadequate shelter from the long, cold nights in Seattle. (AP file)
(AP file)

I work in the world of words. What the City Council is discussing for Seattle’s homeless is not housing. What we will see is the creation of storage boxes and it will get little girls killed, raped and tortured. You might think I’m exaggerating – I’m not.

First was the homeless shelter for drug users, now the far-left activists drafted an ordinance to give five people who gather on a street corner the right to eminent domain. They want to force you to provide garbage service and sanitation, but nowhere in this proposal is an inch of compassion.

Related: Seattle businesses make stand against homeless ordinance

That’s not to say the people pushing for this don’t feel for the homeless people. I’ve met with them and I believe their hearts are in the right place. The problem is they’ve been sucked up into an ideology with no basis in reality.

I’ve worked with homeless people in several capacities in the mutt’s existence I’ve lived. Never as a social worker; that was my dad’s role. But I’ve worked in the commercial field, where I’d walk with them to hang door hangers on doors. I also worked with homeless kids in schools.

KIRO Radio’s Josh Kerns told us an all too familiar story he heard from a Washington State Trooper of a 2-year-old living in the Jungle, under the freeway. The officer found her eating donuts out of the dirt, open sores and fungus on her body, toenails falling off, with a bunch of stoned heroin addicts around her, none of whom were her parents.

I’ll share a brutal reality: Kids like that grow up to be passed around when they are not removed from environments like that. They are traded for drugs. Stoned people will do with them what they will. And I have seen the result of that. I’ve seen it in the clients of my father, whom I met – the ones who lived, anyway.

Here is the belief system we’re up against. You can’t ask them to clean up. You can’t force them to change. You can’t confront them with their behavior.  They are also not the sort of people to set up a community that polices itself.

This isn’t to say that all homeless people are that way. They’re not. Many of them are just sad, drug-addled or down on their luck.

Bigotry of low expectations

Crystal was in sixth grade when she started getting passed around. Her mom lived from homeless shelter to homeless shelter but in the state of Utah, there is a premium placed on keeping kids with the mother. Lovely girl. Smart, vivacious. In the sixth grade, she became overtly sexual; overtly aware that she could manipulate people.

Her friends knew about what was going on at home — if you could call it home. When the authorities finally made the decision to do something with Crystal’s mom, Crystal went to live with an uncle. He was a male version of the mom. You see, the human beings — that these activists want to store in boxes — have kids. Their friends have kids. And there are kids who get turned out to the street. Maybe it’s an abusive parent. I could also name a ton of kids who got turned out to the street because they couldn’t stand to live at home. They’ll look for a place to flop. Well, those boxes are a pretty good place to flop, because all you have to do is share some drugs.

The Seattle City Council is setting up an environment that always ends in the same place unless there are rules.

There is a successful program in Utah now, where they actually gave people houses, but they come with rules. Because if you are interested in housing, then you have to look at it as more than a box or a cage. In a cage, you don’t care if the animal poops everywhere. Just spray it down. Well, these aren’t animals. But we’re being asked to be animalistic.

When you are permissive when you should be firm, you’re going to be cruel when you should be kind. What we need is a firm hand with these people. If you want to stick needles in your arm, find another city. Here are the rules: You’re off of our streets and there are two choices — jail or recovery. The third choice is to leave. If you’ve got kids, we’re taking them from you. Done deal.

Listen, Seattle council. The bigotry of low expectations against these homeless people is driven from a kernel of love in your heart, but, in my experience, none of you have been poor. None of you have traded blood for money. None of you know what it’s like to buy three-day-old chicken from a gas station so you can eat dinner. Those of us who do, we know the temptation to go be stored. Instead of restored.

As much as I’d like to see this pass in Seattle to finally take the mask off these people – to live in the bed that’s set for us, I have to withdraw that hope for the sake of Crystal, Kenny, Levi, Michelle and all the other kids I knew and know who were, like that little girl, eating donuts in the dirt.

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Seattle homeless, kids and a brutal reality