There are problems everywhere in the US relating to homelessness. The first and biggest problem is that so many people don’t have any fucking home. But of course there are subsidiary problems: if someone has no home, they also have no place to go to the bathroom for a good number of hours out of every 24. They don’t have their own garbage service, leading them to leave trash behind and/or to place their own trash in the dumpsters and cans which other people pay to have emptied (other people who then feel “robbed” by paying for the removal of garbage not their own). Then there’s also the fact that sometimes people just need privacy, and without a place to take that privacy territorial fights can break out. After all, when we most need privacy is by definition when we can least resolve conflicts with others peacefully and well. Homelessness then leads to more conflict that can cost others enjoyment of their own neighborhoods as well as more actual assaults, which results in costs for policing, jailing, and prosecuting more people who simply would never have committed a crime if they just had a door they could close behind them so that they could be alone for a bit.
Of course, all those subsidiary problems would (by definition) disappear should we actually house people. Nonetheless, cities again and again think that the best solution is to take possessions, to jail, and to harass people currently homeless, as if living on the street wasn’t already a crappy experience and just adding some misery would cause people to suddenly no longer be homeless … or at least no longer be homeless within that particular city’s limits.
Still, it’s rare to see a city destroy wheelchairs as part of those campaigns. Yet, that’s just what Boston is doing.