When you try to save taxpayers' money by tearing down the facilities supposed to care for those unable to care for themselves (particularly the mentally deficient or incompetent) and force them out on to the streets, that's bad enough . . . but when you deny them the streets as well, what does that make you?
In late April, after jagged rocks were installed along a freeway underpass to drive out homeless encampments, a city spokesman told reporters the project was at the request of residents of Sherman Heights, a working-class neighborhood just east of the 5 Freeway, who felt unsafe walking down Imperial Avenue.
Turns out, it had more to do with San Diego’s upcoming time in the spotlight as the host of baseball’s All Star Game at Petco Park on July 12.
. . .
John Casey, who up until March was the city’s ballpark administrator and liaison with the Padres ... included the rocks in a checklist of work to be done before the All-Star Game. Emails also show that initial plans called for rocks along the base of a wall at Tailgate Park, between 12th and 14th streets and outside the New Central Library — which overlooks the ballpark — to keep away homeless people.
. . .
In a later email, Casey emphasized that the rocks needed to be of different heights so that no one could put down a plank of wood to try to sleep.
The city ultimately went with Casey’s choice of rocks, the records show.
There's more at the link.
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at this. I've worked with and in homeless shelters on two continents, over a period spanning four decades. It's always the same. If you try to help alleviate the plight of the homeless, the local authorities will be happy to help you - provided that your help includes moving them away from their area, preferably never to return. If you try to help them where they actually are, there will be all sorts of official obstacles placed in your way, up to and including ordinances declaring some types of assistance an offense. "We want them out of sight so they can be out of mind" just about sums up the attitude of most authorities.
There's also the NIMBY syndrome, of course. Home-owners and businesses might consider themselves to be compassionate, but only to the extent that it doesn't impose any inconvenience on them (let alone any actual burden). They don't want to see the homeless anywhere near their homes, shops or offices. They'll actively support the authorities' efforts to move them on - and the authorities know this. (Some unscrupulous businesses will even welcome the homeless, for as long as it takes them to buy rubbing alcohol or any other form of temporary intoxicant.)
Meanwhile, those who truly need help are denied it by officialdom, and those who try to provide it privately through charitable resources are at best frowned upon, at worst actively discouraged.
For those of you who want to tell me how unpleasant it is to have homeless people urinating and defecating on the sidewalks, or panhandling from passersby . . . I agree with you. It's unpleasant, and it can be dangerous in many ways. However, when the authorities provide no other place for them to go, and officially discourage any means of assistance, what else are the homeless supposed to do? Kindly answer that question before you sound off about them being shiftless, lazy and bone idle. Most of them have serious personal problems and 'issues' that put them on the streets. Society's answer, increasingly, is to put them in jail rather than allow them to stay there - which does nothing to improve the situation.
The spread of quality-of-life policing, which targets low-level offenses like aggressive panhandling, public urination, and littering, has brought a more mentally unstable, troubled population into jails—one that mental hospitals would have treated before the deinstitutionalization movement of the 1960s and ’70s shuttered most state mental hospitals. In fact, jails have become society’s primary mental institutions, though few have the funding or expertise to carry out that role properly. Mental illness is much more common in jails than in prisons; at Rikers, 28 percent of the inmates require mental health services, a number that rises each year.
More at the link. I have all too much personal experience of this aspect of the problem.
Dealing with homelessness and its associated issues is a huge problem, to which there are no easy answers. The 'rock solution' implemented in San Diego will do nothing whatsoever to help.