There is a Facebook page called “Forgotten Alabama” which provides picture after picture of old abandoned buildings of all types, barns, homes and commercial property in our state. There are literally thousands upon thousands of pics of old abandoned properties from all around our state. I find this site interesting in that this massive property abandonment, to me, is the evidence of an entire way of life disappearing due to the discarding of the old technology for the new.

While most of these properties would not be readily restored to livable abodes, abiding in many of them would be far superior to living under a bridge or on the sidewalks of Los Angeles. This observation has led me to consider the problem of homelessness in our country.

I was talking to a relatively new resident of Red Hill recently about homelessness. She worked with the State of Connecticut before retirement in their department of mental health. Just prior to her retirement, Connecticut had decided to close the doors of its mental healthcare facilities and place their patients in private residences. One of her jobs was to help the patients transition from a controlled environment to a “you are on your own” residence. 

She stated in many incidences she knew the people she was working with would not make it in the outside world because their mental ability severely their ability to cope with it. They needed a controlled environment in which to make it and the state was so intent on saving money that this fact was being removed from consideration.

The top causes of homelessness in many studies are: drug and alcohol abuse, a criminal record, mental disorders and physical disabilities. In all these situations, it seems a society abandoning these people to fend for themselves is a cruel and heartless method to reduce the budget.

Many of the abandoned properties depicted in the Facebook site above were entire hospital complexes, not looking all that old. It would seem if the hospitals were no longer up to par with the latest technology, that they could be converted to facilities to provide a controlled environment for those whose mental abilities are insufficient to the task for independent living.

I was amazed to find out Mississippi has the lowest homeless rate in our country. Since the Choctaw casino complex is probably contributing to the coffers of this state, and they might be using some of these funds for helping in the homeless problem, maybe we should hope the Poarch Creeks will provide us the billion dollars so we can more humanely provide for our citizens in this state who can’t really be expected to independently take care of themselves.

By the way, on average each day in 2018, Alabama had about 3,500 homeless people. So far that is nothing like the streets of Los Angeles. Mississippi had a little over 1,300 during the same period.