Most people know, and can observe for themselves, the problems Philadelphia faces because of homeless people. In an article on philly.com this morning, I read about the situation Rittenhouse Square is facing this summer because of the growing number of homeless people that spend their nights in the park. On some nights, there can be up to 60 people sleeping in the park.
Homeless people chose to spend their nights in the park for many reasons. Some like the comfortable neighborhood surrounding the park, some like the peace and quiet, and some like the safety of it.
“It’s better than LOVE Park. Over there, they just drink, do drugs,” says Juan Gomez, who has been homeless since 1983.
The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to me. Is it so different for a person to chose to live in one neighborhood over another because of its safety, than it is for a homeless person to chose one park over another for the same reasons? Even though I too would like to walk through the city and not see people sleeping on benches, or bathing in fountains, it’s part of living in the city.
What can be done in a city when all people, homeless or not, want to enjoy a park in their own way?