Don’t Blame The Unhoused

The cities of Portland and Seattle are in the process of possibly passing bills to have their unhoused citizens moved off the streets and encampments to be placed in specific strictly run camps. Right or wrong, these bills may become law due to fatigue with the trash, increasing pedestrian deaths among the unhoused, crime and other issues that come with this tragic and amoral societal horror that our nation has allowed this problem to become.

As communities we bridle at the trash that is left behind and the sense we can’t enjoy our shared trails without seeing so many unhoused camped on them. I’ve often heard complaints from people about feeling they are not safe in these places.

The question is, who is truly responsible for all this misery? Passing bills and taking action to vilify the unhoused, in my opinion, is a misguided way out and misses the larger issue. Among them are that a failed capitalist system has run amok and allowed income inequality to increase to such a degree that thousands of folks have nowhere to go and have become marginalized to the extreme.

As someone who has been helping feed the unhoused for a long time, I’ve seen far too much blame put on the unhoused themselves. Until enough action is taken to make real progress solving the economic issues, maybe we can start as a society to show some empathy and compassion while we understand who and what is really to blame for all this.

Neil Burton