Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | May 12, 2009

Tent Cities

There was an article in our sunday paper about a tent city of homeless people that was set up about two years ago, and apparently, unbeknownst to me because I don’t watch Oprah, it has become a growing phenomena, of poeple banding together and setting up their own little communities of tents because they have no where else to go.  And it’s getting bigger, obviously because of the economic situation we are in. I haven’t visited a tent city, so I don’t want to make any generalizations about the people living there. I will say that it’s a complicated problem because you have a mixture of people finding themselves in this dilemma for a variety of reasons, and assigning blame does nothing to solve the issue. What complicates it is the inclusion of the criminal element, the people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, and people who are suffering from mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder, and paranoid schizophrenia.

But, the tent city is an interesting phenomena, and unfortunately, the response to it is usually to evict the people living there and plowing it over. I don’t know, man, what kind of world are we living in?


  1. When I was lving in New York back in ’83-’84, and working with homeless men there, a lot of the homeless schizophrenic guys knew martial arts which made them even scarier. Some of my friends knew kung fu on a serious level, but this was my pre tai chi days, but my gong fu skills were good. Then there was the madman of 96th street who was addicted to crack and spent the days attacking people and cars…

  2. This was a huge problem in Dallas when I was growing up. The first week I moved to DC, I was confronted by a bloody homeless man in Dupont Circle fresh from a fight, an angry homeless veteran screaming curse words at passersby and another homeless man who complimented everyone he met on the sidewalk and said please and thank you. I would sometimes donate money to these folks, but I think what is more effective is empowering them. Giving them the opportunity to believe in themselves and build their confidence. There are many nonprofits out there that do just this. The only one I’m really familiar with though is HELP USA in NY.

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