Friday, July 02, 2004

More on being homeless

Letter to the Editor of the Key West Citizen, 7/2/04

Legal system behind cycle of homelessness

I have lived in Key West for 10 years, and in all this time no [one] has really addressed the true reasons we have so many homeless people here. It is the legal system itself that creates the homeless, as well as the drugs that never stop flowing here in Key West.

So, ask yourself: How many persons will be set free from jail this week? And how many of them will have no job, no home, nothing? So, what do they become? Homeless.

Now, they want to pass laws to put you back in jail, to serve time [and to] get out and do it all over again. There is something wrong when you get caught with marijuana and get a notice to appear but, if you're homeless, you're put in jail. Or, if you're out of your house with an open beer in your hand, you go to jail.

And what about the person who cannot bond out? Well, let's see, he loses his job, his room or apartment. All because it takes 15 to 30 days before you even [get] to court. So, you go in front of the judge [to] plea[d] your case for your open beer. Time served, the judge says. You're a free man, but homeless. No problem. Welcome back to jail. And here we go around, and around, and around.

So, let's not be so quick to pick on the homeless. It could be you one day.

Csaba T. Matusak
Key West

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