Thursday, October 07, 2021

Homelessness in Wichita—as long as we don’t see it, that is OK!

 By Steve Otto 

   I consider homelessness to be a major biproduct of our capitalist system. If there are two things that condemn this system it is the miserable health care, where many people are denied life needing care and homelessness, which rose to a new high here in Kansas due to the “war on welfare” that Republicans and conservatives have fought for the last 30 years. The homeless populations is evidence that they have succeeded in their goals of destroying any kinds of aid to poor people in this state.

At one time both poor men and women could get on welfare. I was on the system myself, back in my 20s in the 1970s. Today only women with children can get cash aid and the rules are so cumbersome that very few poor women can qualify for such aid.

With these constant attacks on public assistance more and more people end up living in the streets. And the problem just gets worse, year after year. The funny thing is that this is the results of what a lot of people want. From KSN News:

“The after-shock of the COVID-19 pandemic has some in Wichita preparing for an increase in homelessness.

Humankind Ministries said this year the number of people staying at their shelters is lower than expected. They believe this is because apartments are not allowed to evict people who aren’t paying their rent, but come May, they said that will change.

“I do believe we haven’t felt the full effect of the pandemic and the impact it will have for those in poverty,” said Christen Sampamurtgy, the director of program and compliance with Humankind Ministries.

The trickle down of the COVID-19 Pandemic has many community organizations concerned.” 

But in reality they are not that concerned and they never were. The housing owners get everything they want in Kansas and that leaves a lot of people out who simply can’t pay the absorbent prices for homes or apartments. The prices go up and up, but not the minimum wage. That has been frozen for the last 10 years. This year congress buckled under to corporate concerns and no one gets a raise. But a lot of poor people get the boot and join the homeless. The last time this country raised the minimum wage:

“The federal minimum wage was last raised on July 24, 2009, when it rose from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour, the last step of a three-step increase approved by Congress in 2007. Before 2007, the minimum wage had been stuck at $5.15 per hour for 10 years.

It would seem that the hardest part of all of this is that people who have fallen through the cracks, who have worked but haven’t earned enough to be able to afford a place to live—NO! The problem is that people have to see the losers in our society and they have to put up with all the fall out that comes with people who try to live and sleep on the streets. According to CBS:

“Hundreds and hundreds of people are living homeless and out on the streets in Wichita.

Camping out and blocking public sidewalks is simply not allowed.

City workers have painted white lines in front of the Open Door shelter on Topeka Street earlier this week. Wichita's police say it's in an effort to clean up homeless camps that have been causing problems.

"If you come over here you can see the white lines. That's out of limits.. That's out of limits," homeless resident Raul Talavera said.“


There are problems with the homeless, but the attitude seems to be “what we need is out of site out of mind.” There are problems with garbage, people pissing in the street. But the problem of people without homes is not really looked at that closely. Yes those at such outfits as Wichita PD's Homeless Outreach Team mostly seem to focus on keeping the homeless legal and mostly out of site. Few really want to focus on this country's disposing of people who have missed the US gravy train. We really don’t care about those who the system has failed and failed miserably. There is almost a “blame the victim mentality” against homeless people. They did something wrong and they don’t have homes….or…they chose to be homeless.

Even a lot of the liberals in our political system are at fault for just brushing homeless people under the rug. They are not important. They may not vote. No one cares about them and here in Wichita, the majority don’t want to hear about them or see them.

So our city council works hard to make that a reality. People don’t want to see our failures and our local government tries to make that a reality.

I am disgusted to live in such a town, state, country. We can do better and we should. Even liberals who try to ignore this need should be removed from our government. They may pretend they are progressive, but if they persist in covering up this huge disgrace, they need to go.

Homeless people in Wichita don’t count!!!

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