A social media meme insists, “In the U.S., vacant homes outnumber homeless people.”
And the point is?
Shouldn’t it also be asked why the person is homeless?
A number of additional questions also need to be asked.
For example, perhaps steps should be taken to assist the destitute in finding shelter.
However, does it therefore logically follow that they deserve to be given a home outright without having to earn it?
A significant number of the homeless can’t seem to master the basics of bodily hygiene.
What makes you think they can handle the complexities of home upkeep?
There is also the issue of definitions.
Just because a home is vacant, that does not mean the home is not owned.
If the owners of such domiciles want to make it part of their life’s vocation to shelter the homeless, that is commendable.
However, shouldn’t we be leery of a regulatory specter eager to compel property owners to surrender that which social engineers might consider excess or pressure homeowners to take on burdens and responsibilities they might not desire?
For example, if non-resident owners are forced to quarter vagrants against their will (one might argue a violation of the spirit of the Third Amendment), when those unable to handle the stresses of home maintenance have either actively or passively allowed entropy to overtake a given structure, what party will step forward to rectify the damage?
Idealists might sneer down their noses at reducing this ethical dilemma to what they dismiss as matters of economics and base legalities.
However, you can’t really live inside a good intention and expect it to keep the wind or rain out, can you?
By Frederick Meekins