Mike’s Notes: I am a capitalist. I think that people who come up with a new idea and invest their own money to promote it deserve all of the money that they get. 

However, capitalism has its limits. This is where the union movement came from. In the age of “robber barons” workers were regularly told that if they wanted to keep their jobs they had to cut the lawn of their supervisor or perform other menial tasks for him. At Ford motor company, workers were asked what car they owned and if they did not say a Ford, they were fired.

Today, because the unions were successful in passing worker protection laws they are, in some circles, considered obsolete.

Growing up in the Detroit area in the 50s and 60s we had a sort of safety net. If you had a life plan that somehow did not succeed, you could always make a living wage by going to work for an auto company. The work was hard and dirty and your life might be shortened due to your working conditions but you could make enough money to provide a home for your family. These jobs are no longer available.

In the last century, Unions did a lot to end homelessness, but now the problem has again exploded. Many of the homeless are full-time workers who simply don’t make enough to provide a place to live.

Add to this returning veterans from our never-ending wars who are dumped out on the streets after they have given what they have to our military and now face dealing with the VA.  This is an organization whose motto is: “Deny, deny until they die.”

Veterans who don’t choose suicide, make up a significant portion of the homeless. Our treatment of them and the working poor say a lot about the morality of our county.

Trump and his minions will tell you that all you have to do is make a small loan of $1,000,000 from your father and invest it wisely. Of course, he actually lost his father’s investment, but his big deal with Russian oligarchs allowed him to continue his “business.”


By: Kriston Capps – Citilab

Kris Jenner keeps a wax figure of herself in her house

The White House is taking steps toward decisive new action on homelessness, bucking policies favored by advocates in favor of an aggressive approach that centers the role of law enforcement. Some of these efforts hit roadblocks this week, but more measures are in the works—including a rumored executive order on homeless encampments.

Advocates say that they expect an executive order on homelessness to assign new resources to police departments to remove homeless encampments and even strip housing funds from cities that choose to tolerate these encampments. It’s one of several efforts being steered by the White House’s Domestic Policy Council in concert with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

On Monday, Housing Secretary Ben Carson met with local officials in Houston, part of a push for federal action on homelessness that could soon take shape in cities across the country. The secretary visited an emergency shelter and was slated to tour a former Harris County jail facility, according to advocates familiar with his agenda. Officials at HUD have been looking at real estate in several cities since the fall when President Donald Trump ordered a sweeping federal response to homelessness.

Carson’s latest stop is yet another signal that the administration is keen to take a hands-on approach to people who sleep on the street. Advocates say that the government is looking closely at ways to turn former correctional facilities and federal buildings into shelters, a controversial approach backed by Robert Marbut, the newly appointed White House czar on homelessness.

One advocate for a Washington, D.C.-based housing organization says that HUD has narrowed its focus to a list of 24 cities and states, all of which have large numbers of unhoused people sleeping outside. Most are located on the West Coast, where Trump has sought to embarrass progressive officials by intervening. Houston is among the cities on this list, obtained by CityLab, where local and regional bodies known as continuums of care (CoCs) face high unsheltered counts. In addition to 20 cities, four of the places named on the list are states that have homeless populations outside the largest urban centers.

While Houston made its way onto HUD’s potential action list, the city has made significant progress in recent years in curbing homelessness, especially relative to other cities in Texas. Over the last decade, the city has cut the number of people experiencing homelessness by more than half. And despite a recent increase following Hurricane Harvey, the trend is still stable or downward, unlike in Dallas, Austin, and other places.

Yet housing advocates fear that the White House favors a punitive approach for Houston, whereas in other Texas cities—homeless encampments are increasingly visible. “I hope that what [Carson] takes away is that if you really turn all your resources to permanent housing and ending homelessness, instead of managing the condition of homelessness, it can have dramatic results,” says Eva Thibeaudeau, CEO of Temenos, a community development corporation that operates about 140 performance supporting housing units in Houston.

Since 2011, the city has marked a 54 percent decline in people experiencing homelessness, according to local point-in-time counts. Thibeaudeau credits the falling numbers of people living on the streets to the city’s adherence to a set of principles known as Housing First. The policy has enabled Houston to put more than 18,000 people into permanent housing situations with their own leases. “We shifted a lot of dollars out of short-term, temporary, high-barrier projects, and reallocated them all toward permanent solutions,” Thibeaudeau says. “That really is the reason that our homelessness has been driven down.”

Housing First runs contrary to the approach favored by Marbut, the consultant who was named director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness last week. Marbut has pushed for shelters that set up barriers to treatment, namely sobriety. For example, at Haven for Hope, a shelter founded by Marbut in San Antonio, homeless people with substance-abuse problems must sleep outside in an exposed courtyard until they can pass a drug test.

In Houston, Temenos manages so-called wet housing: The group works with city and county officials and sobering centers to identify people struggling with long-term alcoholism and addiction who are facing chronic homelessness and give them permanent support, including three meals per day and a lease.

In September, when the White House released a report on homelessness, it signaled a change away from the Housing First direction long favored by the Interagency Council on Homelessness. Going forward, the administration appears to be leaning on a prominent role for law enforcement, with a focus on shelters that sequester homeless people away from downtown in large, centralized facilities.

Late in November, an official at HUD sent an email to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and other officials in Oregon to express Carson’s interest in determining whether an unused jail in Portland could be repurposed for a pilot program to address homelessness, according to a report in Willamette Week. And in September, Carson and other officials at HUD visited a former federal office building just outside Los Angeles, a move that sparked fears among housing advocates that the Trump administration could be planning a crackdown on Skid Row’s unhoused population.

The Trump administration may pursue its agenda on homelessness on other fronts. An executive order—said to be the brainchild of Benjamin Hobbs, special assistant to the president for domestic policy—might not materialize for weeks (if ever). But such executive action would reinforce the dynamic in Texas, where the conservative Governor has sought to overrule the work of liberal leaders in Austin to legalize tent encampments, for example.

But the broader campaign to criminalize homelessness hit a snag on Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case from Boise, Idaho, about whether local and state governments can make it a crime for people to sleep outside. A Supreme Court decision that overturned the federal appeals court’s decision might have enabled cities to prosecute people forced to sleep outside.

“We’re thrilled that the court has let the 9th Circuit decision stand so that homeless people are not punished for sleeping on the streets when they have no other option,” Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, told USA Today.

In yet another front of the administration’s efforts, the White House also pushed hard to strip Housing First language from funding measures in the appropriations bill passed on Monday night, according to advocates. But the bill still retains language from 2018 that prioritizes funds for groups that adhere to Housing First goals.

There are still some legal impediments to banning encampments or stripping funds from groups that choose to put housing needs before behavioral modification. But those may not be enough to prevent the White House from implementing a strategy that local leaders describe as an about-face from what they’ve been pursuing for years.

“The Houston approach, in general, has not been to pour a lot of money into emergency-type facilities,” Thibeaudeau says. “We’ve chosen instead to use that money to increase our supply of permanent supportive housing.”

Author Details
Michael Chester is retired from his career in industrial technology. After graduating from college, he taught this subject until deciding that he preferred doing the job himself more than teaching it. At various times during his career, he has designed, built, installed, and repaired industrial manufacturing machinery. His specialty was in electrical and electronics controls.

After retiring, he concentrated more on his hobby of cooking and attended one of the top culinary schools in the US. Mike competed in bass fishing tournaments for several years, but had to leave the sport due to an injury. As a certified barbecue judge he gets to taste some of the best BBQ in the country and help select the winner. It is a tough job, but someone has to do it. He lives with his wife of over 30 years, has 3 adult children and 2 grandchildren.
DISCLOSURES: All content herein is owned by author exclusively.  Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images within are full responsibility of author and NOT VT.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. The legacy of satanic baby eaters in the RethugliKKKlan CONgress for 40 years. REPENT YOU FILTHY EVIL RETHUGLIKKKLAN GARBAGE.

    “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil…”―Psalm 97

  2. Oh please… there is NO SUCH THING AS “rich” or “poor”

    Words that attach to . . . NOTHING.

    The two concepts are created by MAN to feel a little better about their own personal shit hole they like to call home. This rich man / poor man bullshit hasn’t been rolled out in the news recently, so YEAH, let’s create more , and guess what kids — it’s just in time for CHRISTMAS just to make you feel all warm and . . . guilty for all your crap?!?

    BEN CARSON, the guy who thought REO was a sandwich cookie?!? THAT Ben Carson? Are people in political position still talking to him?? WOW . . . and now all of a sudden he’s relevant?!? Ben Carson: Black in the New Red: Herring? OH COME ON. I’m a redhead, and I’ve always felt insulted for the “red herring” tosser.

    Find out HOW each and every one of these “poor” people ended up living on the street. Yeah, it was all them {rolling eyes}. We see trauma and move on. Pity.

    We see the end result of a shattered person’s life, and all people want to do is sweep them into a building that was ALREADY THERE decades ago, and now they put this sweep into play? Why? Because the numbers crunched for them?!?!? They charge our drunk Uncle Sam for this, no?

    Which really is a statement, not a question. The opposite of rhetorical?

    • Black is the new red . . . herring?

      Oh, and OREO cookies for all . . . Santa likes them.

      We left Mom’s cookies out, but hey, double dipped cream sprinkles for all.

      I took my old dog Molly for a walk downtown on a Sunday afternoon this past summer. It was in one of them “pin point” round up map areas There were homeless there at the park, as per. My dog was in her little red wagon, and I, dutifully pulling her while watching my other dog say “hi” to everyone. I bought the wagon the summer before, because OLD dog was old then at 16. Anyway, as I was walking past two people who were saying “hi” back to the off-leash dog, I stopped to talk with them. Dude looked worse for wear, with two black eyes and all, but he had a friend sitting next to him, talking to him. She seemed a caring sort. And I say this because, she too looked street toughed. The two folks I met in the park were saying how nice I WAS?!?!? Here they were, dude with two black eyes, probably an open beer can . . . I’m guessing. It was in a brown paper bag. It was noon’ish.

      They — the homeless in my little pin poke province — found ME kind, for what I was doing for my old dog {wide-eyed}

      And then . . . if that wasn’t caring enough, the woman suggested, “You should put a pillow down for her, so her ride will be more comfortable.”

      The woman . . . suggested to me . . . how my dog . . . would be more comfortable. She lived on the street!

      SCREW YOU SCROOGE McDrunk Uncle Sam

    • Christmas time is coming
      The goose is getting fat
      Could you please put a penny
      in this old man’s hat?

      If you haven’t got a penny,
      a ha’penny will do.

      If you haven’t got a ha’penny . . .

      God Bless YOU!

  3. Well, good for the men and women in Houston who used their brains. Let’s face it – all the ghettos, skid rows, homeless areas are nothing more than job security for the Muni governments. And it looks like it has gone Federal, too. As a kid playing sports in Chicago, we had to go to the South Side by public transportation to play all sports. Ya, we learned how to play and fight at the same time, but that was over 50 yrs ago and things haven’t changed. One would think , in 50 yrs., some Muni workers , police chiefs, economists, planners, administrators etc. would have come up with a viable plan. Nope, but they are all retired with a great pension- and that is all that counted.

  4. Vagrancy is a crime in many places. An officer can demand that you produce a certain amount of cash or be arrested. How this is enforced , varies and defines the morality of the location.
    Many times, people are taken to “shelters” where they can have food and a place to sleep for the night, if they listen to a sermon. It is a form of forced conversion. Sometimes, like the scene from Rambo, they just take you to the edge of town, and assure your direction of travel.
    Mostly, your treatment is dependent upon the officers judgement of your appearance.

    • “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil…”―Psalm 97:10. This is why I hate RethugliKKKlans…. Criminalize homelessness…criminalize sleeping outside…what happened to Freedom???????? Filthy EVIL RETHUGLIKKKLANS 🔥

  5. Hey, Trump….just crank up those Federal Reserve money creation devices and print all the money you need to build a home for everyone! Instead of spending 300 BILLION on one air craft carrier, build towns with small houses. I mean why not? The whole system is screwed up and frankly THE PITCHFORKS ARE COMING. Can you imagine? Some stinking BILLIONAIRE who never worked a real job his whole life is considering criminalizing homelessness….just another one of those nails in the coffin of the republic that is going to cause an armed rebellion.

  6. The prejudiced bigots running most cities cause many of these problems. They place property tax income ahead of human needs. Zoning laws strictly limit what can be developed on land. In many cases today one has lost the ability to use their own land for anything other than an idle park. Areas which might allow high density development are so expensive no low level development is financially feasible. Minimum lot sizes, minimum space sizes, questions of how sewage is treated, many areas are served by septic tanks while sewer service is selectively doled out to develop expensive commercial developments at the expense of low level ones. Most cities hate mobile homes and the people who live in them because they do not command the high tax revenue. In other words MONEY runs the show not human needs for these selfish arrogant cities. If someone wants to build a small apartment in their back yard and rent it out they are mostly prohibited from doing so. Owners are mostly prohibited from placing a small mobile home in a back yard because many bigots hate mobile homes and hate the people that live in them because they “lower” the property values. Local yokels are the most prejudiced bigots on planet Earth. All this and more is why we have a homeless problem. It is very difficult for a landlord to evict a tenant compared to hotels, motels or store front businesses which can lock them out instantly without a hearing. Government is the problem and government is a failure .

    • Where I live in Athens, Georgia they even have a draconian law limiting the number of unrelated people who can occupy a private home but no limitations on the number of related individuals living there. They enforce this illegal law with threats of large fines. Obviously they do not enforce this law uniformly either also a violation of the Constitution. Theoretically the government could search a private home for the purpose of documenting the number of unrelated people living there! Is this America or former Nazi, Germany? I suspect a number of other bigoted cities have similar prejudiced and illegal laws on the books. All this and more are why we have a homeless problem. A homeowner can’t even help someone in need if they want to because they could be violating this illegal and totally unconstitutional law which has never been challenged to the highest court. Shame, shame shame on bigots running government today. The power of government is being used against the poor and homeless. This same government did nothing about a homeless camp where people lived in squalor for years. No shortage of hypocrisy in government in America today.,

    • A San Bernardino County, Califorinia zoning & building commissar once told me, “It is better that you live in your car or under a bridge than you live in a house we do not approve of.”

  7. actually, being poor IS illegal so we need to arrest and jail forever all these monsters who have made most of us on the planet poor. Is that a deal or what?

    • That has got to be the best idea yet! Stealing our wealth via Fed notes needs to be criminalized and the criminals need to be SHOT in public because that system has been making ALL of us poor since none of what they create has TRUE value in it. I can remember when ribeye steak was $4.99 a pound. Now it’s $1399 a pound. WHO CAN WE BLAME? The FAKE “money” creators. The PITCHFORKS ARE COMING!

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