Corvallis funding for the cold weather shelter started as a yearly allocation of less than $10,000. For fiscal year 2018-19, Corvallis appropriated $307,800 to provide shelter and related services. Now the City Council is considering a service center with long-term leases. Since money does not grow on trees, the situation needs thoughtful deliberation, not a knee-jerk throw-money reaction.
What is our responsibility to the homeless? What is their responsibility to us? From what I see, there are three groups of homeless:
1. Those who have had incredibly bad luck and want to get back on their feet as quickly as possible;
2. The mentally ill; and;
3. "Career" homeless (i.e. bums) who want to be left alone to use recreational drugs and alcohol to excess.
Helping group one will be beneficial to both them and us. They will be back on their feet and we will have more taxpayers. Group two needs appropriate treatment, and if necessary, commitment to mental institutions, not sent to jail. Group two owes it to us to accept their treatment and take their medicine. Group three has opted out of civilized society. We do not owe them anything. Building a "bum magnet" anywhere in Corvallis will just attract more bums to the detriment of the magnet's neighbors.
Eventually funding homeless services will push other services out of the budget or taxes and fees have to be increased, making more Corvallis residents house-poor. For more on the relationship between taxes and fees and affordable housing in the Corvallis area, see item No. 1 on my website: www.peak.org/~detweij.
John H. Detweiler
Corvallis (July 12)