I called the number. The man's name is Guy Nelson. I recognize that homeless people is a broad label and that some people who have lived out in the camps in town have been a nuisance or worse to people living nearby. When I asked how many homeless Guy thought were mentally ill and how many were homeless by choice he estimated 3,000 of the former and 2500 of the later. And another 7000 who are homeless by circumstances - homeless being a broad category including coach surfers.
- Since the Mayor has made it illegal to hand money to the homeless, and
- since Nelson has a phone, and
- since it's still legal to use your cell phone while driving in Alaska,
- perhaps Nelson can work out a way for people to give him money via their phones.
Guy's basic point on the phone was that when you kick people out of the places they live, you need to help them learn to cope in the world. He had ideas about alternative, cheap housing. We made a time to meet this week. I'll let you know what I find out.