"Here we are in one of the richest cities in the world and we have 30,000 homeless people," she said, shaking her head in disbelief, "while many other countries with far fewer resources than America do very well for all of their people.
"We don't have to have people living in the streets, deliberately jaywalking in front of police cars so they get a night in jail," said Mintie, one of the leading spokespersons for the occupants of Tent City across from City Hall before it was torn down last week. "I am a great believer in empowering people, in getting them on their feet so they can earn their own way. We have so much wealth in this country, but we have lost our faith that we can have a strong economy and social justice," she said.
Mintie believes not caring for the temporarily homeless leads to massive waste of lives and taxpayer money. "The hard economic truth is if we don't take care of the homeless they become ill and get put into County Hospital at a cost of hundreds of dollars each night," she said.
One of Mintie's clients worked in a restaurant, supporting herself, a grown daughter and an 8-month-old grandchild. But when the grandmother became ill and needed time off for surgery her employer let her go. The grandmother finally sought welfare and got put up in a stinking, rat-infested Skid Row hotel that had filthy bedding and no hot water.