Addressing mean-spirited attitudes toward poverty & homelessness

(Copy-pasting a comment I made in one of our local issues forums, in case some of you might find this verbiage helpful in dealing with similar elitist/classist attitudes in your area.)

Regarding County Commissioner Robbins’ comments criticizing Daytona Beach. I have a huge problem with talking about our unhoused neighbors as a problem the same way that we talk about trash on the beach as a problem.

These are human beings, and homelessness is a result of deep structural issues nationwide that need to be addressed. And throwing mean-spirited potshots is not going to help.

I do understand that a parent would not want their young child to see people sleeping on the streets, shooting up drugs etc.

Back when I was growing up, and we would occasionally see people on the streets, Mom & Dad would take the opportunity to let us kids know there are people less fortunate than ourselves.

So let’s focus on making a world where homelessness and untreated addiction and mental illness isn’t a thing anymore.

On a related note, I have a big problem with calling homeless people transient. Many of my homeless neighbors are a lot more solid steady presence than the rich people who live out of town but own houses here which they maybe occupy a week or two of the year. Rich transients, with not much of a stake in the community other than protecting their own property.

Vacant houses are a huge liability for neighborhoods, and bad for year-round businesses.

The rest of the county tends to treat Daytona Beach like its trashy stripper girlfriend. They want us to shake our moneymaker but then they blame us for looking a certain way. For having the typical problems that are attracted by high-volume tourism.

Added later: Our modern society has taken a bad detour. We have become a society that does not recognize that all members have something to contribute. We sideline people. When in fact, everyone has a role to play. All indigenous cultures knew this and know this. We as a society can relearn what we forgot, and I have high hopes that we will do so.

And: Also, regarding the implication that the Daytona Beachside is too dangerous & crime-ridden:

I have lived in the Main Street area for almost 11 years. One block south of Main Street, five minutes’ walk to the beach. I love the beach and walk on the beach at all hours.

I walk around this whole area at all hours.

If my schedule permits, I am happy to be a safety escort for people who want to try walking or spending time on the beach or beachside streets but don’t feel safe.

I used to be a pedicab driver (bicycle-taxi) around the boardwalk; we worked til late late night. We ranged from Daytona Shores all the way up to, sometimes, the Publix north of Steve’s diner!!