Last week while driving approximately six blocks, I first passed a disheveled, dirty man carrying a black garbage bag northbound from the area around Prospect Park.
Then I got to the Smiley Brothers statue and observed two other men with overflowing carts sitting on the wall having a chat.
Frequently in the morning, while walking my dogs, I encounter a man on a bicycle who travels around town on solid waste pick-up days, going through private recycling containers, stuffing his treasures into large black sacks and appearing to be a balloon man, ready to soar into space should a strong wind come along.
Homelessness is not simply a Redlands issue, or even a California issue, although a recent article I read reported that San Francisco is so over-run with human waste the municipal facilities department is no longer able to address and control the problem appropriately.
This is nothing to be taken lightly.
Unsanitary conditions breed illnesses that have not been seen in our country for decades.
What do we do about this problem?
The teen homeless situation is being addressed quite effectively in Our Town, thanks to the dedication, generosity, and work of many volunteers. The adult homeless population possibly is a more complex, larger problem to address.
How and why did they end up on the streets? Are there family members somewhere who might step in?
It seems that there really is no immediate viable solution. When mental health institutions stopped housing those who seemed not to be able to care for themselves, the street population began to grow and it has not slowed down since.
Another article I read recently reported that homelessness in our area has increased significantly in the last year.
Though I do not have a solution, I would propose that our city, county, state, and federal officials put on their thinking caps and come to a consensus about what alternatives there are to having a wide berth of people living on our streets, in our parks and behind our buildings.
It is scary to some to encounter a few of the homeless personalities who loiter in public spaces. It is unsanitary to all to walk in streets that are contaminated by human feces and urine. The United States is one of the world's wealthiest nations. It should not be presenting a homeless population of such vast numbers.
Mary Jo Holmes, Redlands