Letter: Bold solutions for homelessness
Over the past months, we’ve heard from individuals who are homeless and unemployed. Their stories give voice to their plight. Many are saying they are not looking for a handout – just a hand up. Their message is: “We want to work – and pay our way for a decent place to live.”
For a good number who are homeless, gainful employment would restore pride and make a dent in the numbers on our streets or at makeshift camp sites.
Meaningful work also gives back. Remember the Conservation Corps? In the 1930s and ’40s, unemployed people were put “back to work” creating parks, trails, dams and bridges which are now national and state treasures.
Homelessness affects all of us. Some feel uncomfortable by its visibility. Or its presence raises a hopeless feeling of collective shame. How in this land of plenty can so many be without homes and work?
For all who are bothered by homelessness, it’s time to speak up. Let our state and national leadership know homelessness is intolerable. We need leaders to pull together federal, state, private, non-profit and faith-based partnerships to address unemployment and a serious lack of affordable housing. We need a robust jobs creation program. (It’s the answer to our crumbling infrastructures!) We need more sustainable housing options.
Without these essential initiatives, the growing cycle of homelessness will only continue to make us squirm. And then, shame on all of us!
ANN and JERRY WALLS