We here at the Real Change are sensitive
to the charge that all we ever do is whine about
homelessness. Instead of proposing practical solutions
that our city and county governments find acceptable,
we write editorials calling for affordable housing,
blah, blah, blah, treating people with dignity,
blah, blah, providing services that cost money,
So I've decided to rectify this situation, medically
speaking. I've set forth a number of proposals for
solving homelessness that are all calculated
to be acceptable to our hardworking local government
officialdom and their deserving, fully paid-up allies.
Please feel free to refer back to that last sentence,
frequently, when the following brilliant ideas become
confusing to you, as they surely will.
My first proposal addresses the very heart of the
homeless problem. And it won't cost a dime. We declare
homelessness to be a personal disorder. We get the
Feds to go along. OK, that part might cost some
lawyers' fees, but you were spending money on lawyers
anyway. This way they'll be doing something productive.
Here's the beauty of it: once homelessness is a
disorder, everything we do about homelessness can
be put down as therapy or rehabilitation. For example,
you can put homeless people to work on contracted
work-crews, and not have to pay them minimum wage!
Because it would be therapy! The government gets
the contract money, and gets to keep it "to
pay for other needed services."
Have I got your attention, Heidi Wills? This kind
of thinking is just your speed!
My second proposal deals directly with the chief
complaint of all homeless people. They have no places
to sleep. My solution is so effective that you will
be able to present it as proof of your compassion.
Hey, if they don't need to sleep, they don't need
a place to do it, right?
So when a homeless person asks for shelter, we should
give them methamphetamines instead. We can cure
them of their need to sleep. OK, meth isn't 100
percent effective, so we'll still have to give them
shelter every four or five days, but (do the math)
that would allow us to get rid of half our existing
Moreover, it would not be necessary to dump meth-crazed
homeless people on the general public. We could
require them to work on one of those crews until
they come down. Then, repeat the therapy as needed.
I think you can see that the public benefits would
All that meth will have to come from somewhere.
Perhaps we could offer donuts to our cops for their
hoards. Hey, cops work long hours around the clock.
You know what happens to unreported drug confiscations.
2+2=4. Eventually a city-owned meth lab could cheaply
produce enough for all of our homeless, plus replace
our cops' stashes.
Once we have done so much to eradicate the problem
of homelessness in Seattle, we will generate a new
problem. We will make Seattle a magnet for homeless
people all around the country, and the world. Therefore
it would be irresponsible of me to make the proposals
above, without also offering the means to prevent
a massive influx of homeless immigrants.
My proposal is inspired by the great work of Mark
Sidran. I could not have thought of the brilliant
idea that I am about to explain, were it not for
that giant of civic engineering. If I have been
able to see further than he, it is only because
I have stood upon his shoulders.
Sidran's great genius was realizing that if life
for homeless people in Seattle was miserable, they'd
go away. That sounds simple-minded, but it works!
They did go away! To Los Angeles! Trouble was, Los
Angeles was worse! So they came back! So you see,
Sidran was right, but we must go further. We must
out-Los Angeles Los Angeles. We must make Seattle
a living hell for everyone who has to be outside.
Los Angeles has lousy air. We can top that. We can
scrap Metro. We can have poisonous air and poisonous
water in just a year. People living outdoors will
start to drop like flies. Not that that will be
the intent of the program. No, the intent of the
program will be merely to encourage homeless elements
to look elsewhere for comfort.
We already don't let them sit down. Let's not let them breathe. That ought to