The Metro Council in Baton Rouge has approved funding for a program that gives homeless people bus tickets out of town.
Its original name? Clean Sweep.
I didn't make that up, because I couldn't make that up.
Now it's called HOPE (Homeless Outreach Prevention Efforts), which leaves the modification of "prevention" in question. But hey, it's Baton Rouge. We should be happy they didn't call it White Wash. Or worse.
Like so many ideas that arise from a conservative culture, this one has a seemingly charitable premise that turns horrible with a little critical thought. The stated idea is that many of these people traveled from elsewhere, encountered hard luck and just need a ride home. But that raises a few questions:
1) To how many people does that specific scenario apply?
2) Do those people even want to go home, the place that compelled them to see Baton Rouge as a better alternative in the first place?
3) If so, and they fulfill the requirement that they have open arms to return to, how likely is it that those arms can't forward them the money?
4) What is the parish doing about improving the lot of the native homeless?
5) Isn't this a signal that the parish cares less about providing opportunity than sweeping itself clean of undesirables to appease the upper class?
I'd like this plan better if it offered relocation to residents who want more than the area can offer. But of course things like that don't happen. Clean sweeps happen.
The only saving grace is that it's underfunded. Of course it is.