Homeless Camp or Park in Use?
“Seventeen people and five dogs hanging out in the vets park…[T]hey were there for hours…[I’]m torn…[I] know people need somewhere to be but it looked like a camp out in the middle of [Garberville]… I think maybe [T]ooby park would have been better spot for a gathering…[I]t is an every day thing…[I]t has become a spot for the drifters/homeless to sleep, drink beer, and be for the day.”
A resident of Garberville sent me the above photo and a note which I quoted from above. I, too, am torn. I sympathize with business people concerned that Garberville may be losing business because the homeless may give the town an “underworld” feel. I sympathize with parents who worry about the homeless offering drugs or being inappropriate with kids but the photo brings up a question for me (in fact, several questions)— What makes hanging at the park all day a nuisance and what makes it just enjoying the park? Is it the large amount of gear that some have? I can remember as a young kid spending the day at a park. There was beer for the grownups. There were dogs. What makes this gathering different and threatening? Were folks at the park yesterday acting intoxicated? Rude and obnoxious? In which case, couldn’t law enforcement deal with public intoxication issues as they come up? If those same folk were wearing clean clothes and had shorter haircuts would there be any outcry at their using the park?
But, I’m not there. I’m not dealing with the issues. It is easy for me to be relaxed as I don’t have a business or a child that could possibly be harmed. Wouldn’t I feel more frustrated if I were there? Wouldn’t you?
I don’t have answers. I just have questions.
Seventeen people and five dogs is that a party or a problem? Can we reframe the way we look at it or can we find a way to make the problem diminish?
(As a side note, if the orange fence isn’t working to keep out the homeless, could it please come down? That thing is bug-ugly! And adds to the town looking derelict.)