November 28, 2007

The Limits of Social Justice?

I'm beginning to research attitudes towards the homeless and homelessness for my next book, and it just so happens that a very interesting debate is underway in Roanoke, VA, about an hour southwest of where we live now.

In January 2007, Roanoke conducted a study of the homeless population and found that the number of homeless had increased 326% since 1987. The City Council is worried that Roanoke is attracting too many homeless people. Councilman Bev Patrick is characterized in the Roanoke Times journalist Mason Adams as being "fed up."
clipped from

"It's about the fact that we're letting people come here because we're too daggone nice," he said. "They find out about it, and they're coming. We've got to corral that. I just say plug it, somehow, so we're doing the right thing for the people of this valley who need us and we're not doing it for everyone else."

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