By Letter to the Editor on October 8, 2020.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about the headline article of Wednesday, Sept. 23 entitled “Illegal camps a concern for City.”
Our city is made up of many residents. There are those (many City managers) who make six-figure incomes. They can go home at night to a warm bed, safely socially distanced, good food to eat, etc. There are also many others, less financially secure, but still with a warm bed, food, safety, etc. Then there are those others who cannot find affordable housing (no warm bed), cannot find a decently paying job, who may have various health issues, etc. It would appear, from statements in the article, that those people need to be cleared out of the community. While admitting there is a need for more homeless shelter space, more affordable housing, etc., little is happening.
Instead the City spends money on making it more uncomfortable for these residents. Hire someone to clear out the “illegal” camps, the sleeping outdoors. Money is also spent on cutting down every shrub or caragana in Henderson Park, the running track park, Indian Battle Park, etc., in case someone might find shelter there. I see volunteers from Streets Alive checking on people sleeping outside to make sure they are safe and have food and water. I don’t see City staff taking care of their needs, nor do I see The Watch caring for them.
I’m discouraged by the negative attitude (even some city council members) that many members of our city express toward the homeless. The prejudice toward “others” is disturbing. It’s time to clean up our act and look after all of our citizens, not just the “right” ones.