Observations from the Streets


It seems to be a heated debate on whether or not to provide an $18 million shelter for those living on the streets. Quite honestly, most homeless prefer the life on the street rather than establishing a permanent residence. There, they can live life with no accountability. Free to tan, smoke dope and drink.

The reason why they are there in the first place is they failed to maintain sobriety, hold a job and pay the bills like the rest of us. So, now it’s the responsibility of the general public to pick up the tab?

Don’t tell me I need to walk in their shoes. I did. After being homeless myself, I struggled with holding a job down as well as addiction.

It all boils down to how much you want to change. Gainfully employed for over 15 years now and living in Laguna, it can all vanish with the wrong choices.

Not all homeless struggle with addiction. Mental illness plays a part. I went thru and still struggle with my own.

The daily walk reveals the “morning crew”. Panhandling downtown to support the lifestyle they choose. Setting up camp on the beach. When “the white van arrives” the numbers increase. As they scatter about, some choose the bus depot close to the liquor store. Some at Heisler. Others the air-conditioned bus tour North or South to score dope. And there’s dope. Best places to use are the public restrooms. (I have personally walked in on it a few times). Or blatantly at “homie camp 2” at Main Beach, at Heisler Park or someone’s neighborhood along the canyon, in the bushes or wherever.

Remember, addiction ain’t cheap so lock it-hide it-or your possessions may soon pay for their next fix. If you know what to look for its quite obvious.

The Friendship Shelter holds those accountable by drug testing and requiring residents to look for work. Those that truly want to work will do so on putting their lives back together. They will walk the walk as they say.

If the shelter is built, will the numbers of homeless here in town increase? Will they be held accountable? A sign of the times or the beacon that shines for them to end up here and not Santa Ana. And yes, their numbers are up. Really, it’s location, location, location, right? How many chances should someone get? I don’t know. But when you work hard your good deeds are rewarded. If you don’t, it’s just another day in paradise to be the burden of us that have to work to support ourselves…and them, too.

Teach them to fish or just give them the fish?

James Dane is a Laguna Beach resident.

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  1. Oh, James, you need an attitude adjustment. Your sneering attitude is unattractive. “Most homeless”? Do you purport to speak for an entire population? The reason why “they” are there on the streets is not necessarily what you think, and you are dead wrong to assume so much about individuals who each have their own story. We are talking here about housing disabled people who are homeless. Your supposed dope-addled homies aren’t the demographic this is aimed at. If they are transients who are breaking the law, they are an enforcement responsibility, not a “homeless” problem. With this proposal, Friendship Shelter is not opening the floodgates to offer more emergency services – in fact, the number of available “beds” (mats on the floor at the ASL) will be reduced because many of the people who have been using the ASL since Day One will no longer be homeless. They will have housing AND supportive social services to help them stay off the streets and improve their lives to the extent possible.
    Also, the $18 million is erroneous. The actual figure, with contingencies, at the moment is set at $11 million.
    You need to read up and get your facts straight before you write letters like this one, sir.


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