Columbia Cares: Discrimination by any other name

August 21, 2013

Columbia Cares: Discrimination by any other name

I want to address this horrendous infringement on the rights of human beings that are being propagated in this so called Columbia Cares Plan. The contents of this 44 page pdf contains some of the most sickening and thinly veiled contempt for people down on their luck that I have ever seen. Columbia does not want to deal with the problem of homelessness; They want to take it and put it somewhere else so Columbia doesn’t have to look at it anymore. In the vein of placing the Star of David on the Jewish people before they were corralled into concentration camps this plan shares disturbing similarities. The city plans to gather up groups of people without homes and put them into this system, separating them from what they know like the trail of tears did for the native Americans.

This is justified by the high concentration of homeless in downtown Columbia. Businesses and residents are upset wit panhandling and other incidences. The assumption is that businesses in downtown Columbia are being affected by this influx of homeless. It is a problem, I agree. Their solution for this issue, however, can be described in no other way then offensive and discriminatory. The City of Columbia’s answer does not treat the homeless as human beings but as pests to be eliminated.

If you read the PDF you will notice that very vague and altruistic words are used to describe what they plan. This is a usual ploy that politicians and the like use to dress up an idea that people would not like. The real explanation is they want to get the homeless out of downtown so they don’t have to look at them anymore. They want to offer one confinement or another, either you go to jail or you go into this system. What is this system I am talking about? What makes it so bad?

They will impose this so called Triage, a system that will make it mandatory for homeless people to reside in a shelter or face being put in jail. This Triage will send them either to a shelter like Transitions which is considered “Tier one,” a non profit organization, the “tier two” a faith based shelter, or this place they will call the “Retreat.” The Retreat is a nice name for a concentration camp they they plan to establish 10 to 15 miles outside of Columbia. It is a Hundred acre “privately owned property.” Refusal to go to this “Retreat” would mean certain Jail time. Under the veil of “compassion” and “care” they are imposing on peoples rights and giving them a no win situation that compels them into this Triage.

Lets say you go into the system. Well they will have another special surprise for you. Those food stamps and disability checks that you fought to have while you were trying to get on your feet will be “re-captured” because they are clearly being “lost” to those homeless people. In other words the Homeless and broke would only be able to get food from the homeless shelter (which let me tell you isn’t all that great) and they would have no reason to wonder into our little stores and gum up the works buying things with food stamps or their checks.

Alternatively you could take the “leave town” option. Where would you go exactly? How would you get there without money? While your working to get “out of town” where are you going to sleep? Columbia finds you sleeping and then you are going to run into the same problem you were having before. Who do you know outside of where you live? How is going to another place going to make anything any better? The answer is its not going to make it better for you, it just gets you out of Columbia’s hair.

They do not care if it is Jail or some place out in the suburbs they do not care as long as these undesirables are out of sight and out of mind. Similar to the holocaust, the homeless will be the scapegoat for all the cities problems and the solution is to cart them away from society like they were a herd of cattle.

However they want to gloss this horrendous plan with pathetically asinine phrases like “hope not hate” when it is discrimination and persecution in its purest form. Think of the days when fountains and bathrooms were separated for “Whites” and “Blacks”, using phrases like “Separate but equal” and similarly condescending lines to make it sound like it was a good thing. At the end of the day though we all saw it for the hateful filth that it was and put an end to the despicable state sanctioned discrimination. Now the discrimination is fallen onto those with houses and those without. Now the separate but equal analogy will be applied to these “undeserving poor” folks as they are removed from the place they call home and crammed into this system.

They seek to use the people to help them persecute the homeless. They want “city wide awareness”, in other words they want the people of the city to report the homeless to the police. Think of Anne Frank, how they were afraid of their own neighbors as the hid in their own home until they were pulled out and carted off to the concentration camp. Think of the people like Rosa Parks who stood against awful persecution for simply sitting in the front seat of the bus. I was sitting on a bench reading the paper and was told that “this bench was for working people” by the police officer. Now people are going to either get arrested or carted off simply for not having a place to rest their head.

They say that this is not going to be a “one size fits all system.” Pray tell how that could possibly be true? All homeless people are going to be funneled into the same places or thrown in jail, and I cannot imagine they have enough funds to even remotely fake individual care. Their real focus is to “de-concentrate efforts from down town and decrease visibility”, that is an actual quote from the PDF. They just don’t want to see it, they don’t care if it is individualized or if the homeless even get out of this situation.

Ask yourself: What if I lost everything and ended up homeless? To the City of Columbia you would be nothing short of a vagrant that needs to be moved to another location and away from their “vision” of what Colombia is supposed to be. It is terribly easy to lose everything in this day and age, and Columbia only cares about whether or not these hard times are visible or “tastefully” moved out of public view. I can tell you from personal experience that any thing can happen and that you can be doing fine and then find yourself homeless.

This is class action lawsuit territory. This is something that deserves a million man march. It runs against everything our nation is supposed to stand for. If they press on with this I will do whatever It takes to bring this deplorable and despicable plan down. Although I am just an “undesirable homeless” person I do have a head on my shoulders and I do not take kindly to people discriminating against others. Whomever had the audacity to think up this plan should be ashamed of themselves and I hope that this injustice in the making will be brought to an end before it sees the light of day.


1 comment
  • James says:

    I agree with your position on the ‘Columbia Cares’ program. The plan is another example of government siding with business interest over human dignity.

    I would like to offer one critique of the piece. Your passion is evident by the fervor and anger that jumps from the test. However, I would caution you to avoid referencing the Holocaust. The city’s plan is far from reaching the extremes of Nazi Germany’s concentration camps, and I can imagine that many will be offended by the comparison. My opinion holds that the shameful program to be implemented by the City of Columbia is sufficiently offensive, and the facts of the program are enough to enrage the public without the need for Holocaust analogies.

    Nonetheless, thank you for your powerful voice exposing the ‘Columbia Cares’ program for what it is. I hope it can be stopped.

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