Alice set herself up on a lively avenue next to a health food store. For a while, the local store workers brought her food and drink. She was out there through most extremely bad weather, rain and snow and serious cold. She had a rainproof tarp for her mattress and minor possessions and when needed for herself. She sat in a chair most of the day warning people with baby carriages and dogs not to step in a hole in the pavement. She created a happy vibe. She told me she could not get into “trans” housing because it only went up to age 25. What are the trans homeless to do at 26?

Then the store owners began to complain about her being there, particularly under their awning during the rain. They thought a homeless person perched on the edge of the sidewalk would bring their profits down. The store owner and his assistant took Alice around the corner and then down that block to “discuss” things. They said it was too fancy a street for a homeless squat. Alice realized that the discussion was a scam because of how far they walked and ran back to find her mattress gone. Luckily, the next day, she found another mattress thrown out on that adjacent street and rescued it. 

The American unhoused and barely housed population is sinking into deeper trouble every day. About 40 percent live from paycheck to paycheck. Trouble with their car’s generator and they and their family are out on the street. Why is this happening in the richest country in the world, in our so-called democracy? The government no longer serves the poor. It does not use taxes to take care of people in a homeless state or teetering into poverty. The rich in power babble an up by your bootstrap myth created by those who largely inherited their wealth.

Democrats running for office rarely or never use the word poor let alone homeless when they are campaigning. It is thought that such mention will keep them from being elected. Mayor Peter said that he was the only candidate on stage in a Democratic debate who was not a millionaire or billionaire. What he did not say and did not apologize for is being on millionaires and billionaire payroll. If elected, he will do what his donors want. He is a candidate for sale. Candidates sell themselves because our elections are so expensive. There is no limit on what is spent by those who have or are given money.

We have a new class of people. those who pay for candidates to run and then obey them. They are called the “donor” class. Donors want to build houses for the very rich like themselves. They pay off neighborhood planners to put their high cost buildings in the best spots. Poor kids get asthma from breathing truck fumes and effluent gases from incinerator sites. Trucks and incineration plants do not occur in fancy neighborhoods.   

In places like Denmark, called the world’s happiest country. they are erecting villages of small, single room houses so that formerly homeless residents live there and form a village. In the US, people on the street and in need of housing are arrested or sent away. We have scattered homeless people in tents or shelters made of plastic and rags.

What can we do about it? Call everyone who is running for office. Tell them to create inexpensive or free “living spaces” in old and new buildings. Tell them to build one room houses a la Denmark with our tax money. Make it illegal for candidates to accept money from the donors so that candidates then are in debt. A true democracy would give every candidate the same amount to spend on a brief campaign and allow no other money. Once candidates are supported this way, people will run for office from all classes and religions and colors and sexual orientations, people coming from everywhere to create a secure life for everyone.

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