Galled by homeless in Missoula



Missoula residents will recognize Eric, who has been panhandling/sleeping on the streets/hanging out in the Ox for the last 13 years. For a small town, Missoula has a serious homeless problem. It is more serious in part because you get to recognize them, making it harder to regard the homeless as a problem and easier to regard them as people. That’s when the guilt kicks in. You can read about it in my most recent column for the Independent, which is what y’all get today instead of a real blog. But do Indy readers get a free picture of Eric stolen from the Wall Street Journal? They do not.

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  1. Now that we’ve have identified a problem and expressed our nuanced feelings on the subject, it seems like the next step is a policy solution, which the expansion of a shelter probably is not.

    Malcom Gladwell weaves a few features of homelessness–especially it’s non-gaussian distribution–into an interesting narrative here. The solution might be giving the most destructive homeless an apartment.

  2. Thank you for linking to that Gladwell story, Attempt #1 (if in fact that is your real name). It’s awesome.

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