Curbside Communities? Sounds Fancy for Homeless Camps

Curbside Communities? Sounds Fancy for Homeless Camps

CBS isn’t doing California any favors. They’ve got continuous coverage on the homelessness crisis that has been taking the San Francisco Bay area by storm for over a year now. The news outlet produced a profile on one woman who has been calling the streets of Oakland her home for at least a year.

Mavin Carter-Griffin had the opportunity to have a full profile done on her by CBS. Many of her opinions were interesting, especially since they seem to be similar to many of the other homeless citizens of San Francisco.

Carter-Griffin knows that most people refer to the tents and sleeping bags on the sidewalk as homeless encampments. However, she would prefer the term “curbside communities” because it sounds classier.

This is a sad state of events that she has a better name for being homeless. It’s almost as if she has given up all hope of ever changing her status. She clearly has no hope in California legislators and their ability to clean things up and improve for the status for her and the other homeless citizens in the area.

She has called Wood Street her home for over a year. She also has ideas of what can be done to help the homeless. This includes adding showers to Raimondi Park and providing all of the homeless people with a pit bull. Well, showers could be doable but the pit bull idea might have to wait.

Public showers in the park could certainly help with the hygiene, but it may not be something that politicians want to create. By adding public showers, they acknowledge that there is a homelessness crisis. It also opens up the possibility of public nudity as well as countless other problems.

Carter-Griffin talks about some of the complications of being a female in the homeless encampments. This has been a concern covered in the media in the past, with rates of sexual assault and rape skyrocketing in comparison to the rest of the population. Law enforcement is overwhelmed and personal security is an issue.

Carter-Griffin is very open as to how she ended up on the streets. Her previous two-bedroom apartment began costing $5000 per month in rent. The insane amount of rent being charged across the city has been a sore spot for a number of residents – and it’s one of the same reasons why New York City is experiencing homeless problems.

Why the term “curbside communities?” Carter-Griffin prefers this term because she wants people to recognize and accept that she is a member of the community just like everyone else. She understands that “homeless encampments” bring drug abuse, higher crime rates, trash, and even human waste onto the streets. However, as a curbside community, she wants people to be more welcoming to her.

There are plenty of charities throughout the San Francisco bay area that do what they can. They provide toiletries, hot meals, and clothing too many. However, it ultimately is the responsibility of the city to address the problem. Renaming the encampments to something more luxurious is not the answer. It simply accepting that the crisis is now the new normal. No one wants to live in a tent on the sidewalk. No one wants to defecate next to a fire hydrant. No one actually wants the public parks to add showers so that they can practice personal hygiene.

The California politicians need to identify why so many people are becoming homeless and change those conditions. The homelessness crisis is only going to get worse if they don’t get people off of the streets and into places where they have the opportunity to rebuild their lives. With welfare, WIC, Medicaid and more out there, it’s clear that programs are in place – it’s just a matter of getting the help to where it is needed.

A number of California cities are failing miserably – and politicians aren’t really doing too much about it. Rather than the governor identifying that there is a problem, he is spending more time focusing on non-existent problems, like making it legal to eat roadkill. Is this supposed to help feed the homeless communities? He hasn’t said, but it seems like a random piece of legislation to pass when there are bigger issues at hand.

While Carter-Griffin may be okay with her curbside community, the renaming of the homeless encampment sounds as if she has given up all hope of her state legislature hoping her out of this predicament. Now, all she’s hoping for is a public shower in the park… and maybe a pit bull as a way to keep her company.



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