Tent city is not a solution to deal with San Diego’s hepatitis A problem!

Carl DeMaio’s critiscm of Mayor Faulconers “tent city” plan to address the out of control homeless crisis is spot on. It reminds me of how my younger brother used to clean his room. My brother would have toys and stuff all over his bedroom floor. Our mother would demand he clean up his room. My brother took a few pillow cases tossed all his stuff in them, then hid them in them behind the attic door that was off his bedroom. A few days later all his stuff was spilling back on to his bedroom floor and the cycle continued. The Mayor’s plan is to take a few tents to hide the problem. I will be only a matter of time before the problem spills out flaps of the tents.

The left believes the only reason people are homeless is due, Republicans refusing support the latest minimum wage increase, funding for an affordable housing project, or being a victim of race, gender, or sexual orientation. It has become politically incorrect to hold someone who is homeless accountable for the choices they have made that lead them down a path to homelessness. The only acceptable reason is a victim of society.

This mind set is evident in an article written by Kelly Davis for the Guardian on August 28, 2017, reporting on the hepatitis A outbreak in San Diego. Ms. Davis wrote the following, “In large part, the victims were homeless people who have had to contend with a lack of 24-hour public restrooms, even though hand-washing is one of the best defenses against infection.” Ms. Davis by using the word “contend” with insinuates that the homeless population find themselves in the situation due to being a victim of society.

The article goes on to discuss cases where hepatitis A was spread through contaminated food. Rohit Loomba, director of hepatology at the University of California at San Diego talks about a food born cause of the San Diego outbreak. He told the Guardian, “My gut feeling is it was a common source where somebody might have given food to a group of homeless individuals,” he said. From there, the virus spread via personal contact. “They don’t have a clean water supply to wash their hands, and once they have hepatitis A, then they become a source for another person.”

Ms. Davis and Dr. Loomba are correct that a lack of clean water and sanitation is true, but glosses over the fact that thousands of homeless people are defecating in public places. Life expectancy has increased dramatically in the developed world in past 100 years largely due to clean water and waste sanitation. If this continues we could see the return of other diseases return that are spread due to dirty water like Cholera, Guinea worm disease, Typhoid, and Dysentery. These diseases kill over three million people in the non developed world.

The Mayor and city leaders reluctance to declare a public health emergency and demand that law enforcement stop ignoring laws on the books that would force the homeless into treatment programs and shelters is due to him not wanting to assign any blame to the homeless population or appear mean spirited and lacking compassion. This reluctance is not compassionate, because it prevents any real solutions to fix the issue.

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