Homeless are not Criminals

Letter to the Baltimore Sun:

I just read Rosalind Ellis' recent letter regarding the expansion of Beans and Bread ("Neighbors right to worry about Beans and Bread," Nov. 2). It is obvious to me that Ms. Ellis does not personally know anyone who is homeless or out of a job and on the verge of homelessness.

She states the "many who came to Our Daily Bread were drug abusers, shoplifters and aggressive panhandlers" and that the "filthy tent city housed criminals who broke into cars and shoplifted throughout the area." Apparently she considers the homeless to be the criminal element of our city. It seems to me from reading the newspaper that the greater majority of drug abusers, shoplifters and criminals are listed with addresses. Very few are listed as homeless.

She writes that the "bureaucracy" cares "nothing about the neighborhoods" and "no consideration is given to communities ... or to folks who put their life savings and 'sweat equity' into improving their homes." Has she met some of these people she considers to be such criminals? You will find your share of those who put their life savings and sweat equity into their homes, too, only to end up losing them because the company they worked for had to cut back. I have, and have had, friends who, through no fault of their own, lose their job and spend months or years trying every day to find a job only to be told "we're not hiring right now" or that they overqualified or they don't have the right "specialty."

I really don't think that the homeless are coming from all over the country to take advantage of Charm City's largesse. But God bless the people of Charm City who care enough to give of their time and their dollars so that those less fortunate can have a hot meal once a day, a bed out of the cold or heat or rain, and an opportunity to try and improve their situation at one of those "adjunct services."

She states "Beans and Bread shouldn't worry some neighbors, it should worry the entire city." I think Beans and Bread, and the city, should worry about people who think like Ms. Ellis.

- Sharon Edwards, Baltimore

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-beans-letter-20111205,0,3419414.story

  • The truth lies between the two extremes, and especially in this economy, more away from Ms. Ellis perspective. I have known homeless people who were drug addicts and did very evil things, often as a part of personal philosophy. there were also good people, and old gangster types too tired or crippled to be a danger, and mentally off a bit but harmless, and alcoholics, but there were people also who when given the opportunity to get transitioned back into normal society did so, and addicts and drunks who benefitted from free programs and so forth. (sometimes it takes a while several programs to make it work.)

    There have always been the criminal poor and the honest poor. Yes, the addicts and so forth have addresses, often just some place on expired ID, or a place they are allowed to sleep over at sometimes, some are employed with good cars, like the average ones busted in a “buyers remorse”
    operation years ago I read about. And what about those fine youths who are using drugs and having a no absolutes philosophy drilled into them at school and elsewhere?

    what do you think your friends and neighbors in this category will do if they are confronted with economic severity? probably go for robbery and petty theft and fraud and whatnot.