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PUYALLUP: Too many young people are homeless

Letter by Lawrence W. Moore, Puyallup on Oct. 6, 2011 at 11:05 am with 14 Comments »
October 6, 2011 2:05 pm

I volunteer at Helping Hand House in Puyallup. One of the benefits is becoming more aware of homeless families. I learned two alarming statistics: The average age of a homeless person is 6, and there are about 500 homeless teenagers in Puyallup. That is nearly an entire grade in each of Puyallup’s three high schools. These young adults are our future leaders, and they’re not maturing at home.

What are we doing about this problem? Apparently nothing.

Why? What have these young adults done that is so bad that their parents will not let them live at home? Parents should have unconditional love for their children. Unconditional means no conditions, no matter what.

Where is support for the young adults and their families? Where are their relatives? Where are the churches? Where is the community? Where can I help?

Very few are aware of the severity of the problem. This is our problem, not a government problem.


Leave a comment Comments → 14
  1. drummerswidow says:

    “What have these young adults done that is so bad that their parents will not let them live at home?” Where to begin….how about assaulting or threatening to assault their parents and younger siblings, stealing from their parents and siblings, destroying parents’ and siblings’ belongings, behaving in such a way that the parents and siblings are in fear for their safety or even their lives? Have them arrested? Is that really a solution? How much angrier will they be after that happens? Have them committed? Good luck accomplishing that, even for a short term evaluation. Having unconditional love for your children doesn’t mean putting your other children in danger because one of your children is out of control.

  2. EthicalPuyallup says:

    I agree that even one homeless child is too many. But where are the statistics you cite coming from? The school district? The truth is they are including in their numbers children of seasonal ag workers that are not from here.. simply “moving through” with the harvest season. Also, if you ask which schools the numbers are coming from you find that most are from unincorporated Pierce county.. not Puyallup at all. Simply served by the Puyallup School District. While that does not make them any less homeless… it puts the governance on Pierce County.. not on the City of Puyallup or it’s taxpayers.
    A huge problem is the inclusion of inaccurate data to increase the severity of a legitimate problem. It illegitimizes the entire argument…

  3. puyallupmutt says:

    When I first heard of this a few months ago (briefed by the School District at a Council session), I was shocked and decided to investigate the numbers.

    The District stated that 450 were homeless in the school district.

    As the briefing was to the City, it turned out that only 150 of these were in city limits and city responsibility in comparison to the county (when it comes to budget).

    Of the 150, only 90 were still active (some had moved on).

    Of that 90, half had hispanic last names.

    So, I would postulate that many of the categorized “homeless” are actually kids of migrant workers who simply do not have a need for a permanent residence as they frequently move on to where crops need work around the State. Thats just a fact of agricultural business.

    Therefore, around 50 or so are actually homeless in Puyallup City limits. While this is still 50 too many, its not the 450 or 500 as first feared.

    Just setting the facts straight.

  4. Drummerswidow,
    How about young people who are running from parents, siblings, and others who are doing the beating etc?

  5. drummerswidow says:

    @xring – you are correct. Sometimes the fault is with the parents or the other siblings in the home.

  6. itwasntmethistime says:

    What are we doing about this? What CAN we do? We have set up a system where we have no right to invade someone’s privacy by telling them how to raise their children. I can’t tell you to quit beating your kids, I just have to pay for the social services they need because of it.

  7. artiepuy says:

    puyallupmutt says: “Of that 90, half had hispanic last names.”

    I’m just wondering, are you implying that there are no actual Puyallup residents with hispanic last names? I was following your math just fine until right there.

    I do agree though that the number seems to be inflated with regards to the city proper. Whether the value is correct for the district is another question. If 40% of those listed in the city aren’t actually here any more, what’s the percentge of the entire 450?

  8. Title redo: Too many young people CHOOSE to be homeless. Done.

  9. puyallupmutt says:

    artiepuy – your point is ?

    if half a list of anything puyallup is hispanic, and anyone with half a brain would accept that puyallup is not half hispanic, it concludes that the statistical conclusion has to be that the list of homeless is not a normal distribution of ethnic origin. so there has to be a social or economic rationale.

    it’s simple mathematics that most could comprehend.

    yes hispanics own homes too, they were not on the list. it was a list of homeless.

  10. JimmyEOlson says:

    “The average age of a homeless person is 6.”!!!!! What!?

    Don’t believe everything you hear. Figures don’t lie but liars sure do figure!

  11. While well-intentioned, some of the homeless coalitions in Puyallup are well over their heads. Downtown Puyallup is being over-run by chronic homeless men. One of these “non-profits” is currently creating a housing project(triplex) that will house 24 chronically homeless grown men….yep right near Sam Peach Park, and right by a walking only elementary school. One only has to go near where my business is downtown and spend a few minutes near the 5th St and East Main/East Pioneer train crossing. Drunk people all over the place, cops do nothing to people urinating in public…..some of these individuals mean well, some are just using government funds to hire themselves as a general contactor, then hire themselves as managers of programs…..we need to help those that want help, but doing it the way our city is exacerbates the problem. Homeless are flocking to Puyallup from other cities.

  12. GeronimoV says:

    Far too many young people would be perfectly welcome to live at home with their parents if they would simply choose to behave themselves, submit to parental guidance, and demonstrate a modicum of responsibility and respect.

    But that’s no fun. They prefer defiant independence without the least concept of how to function in society; they all think that they are owed a great job at high wages where they don’t have to do any work.

    But the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. For the most part their parents didn’t have any home training, either.

  13. artiepuy says:

    puyallupmutt – One of my points is this – if only 90 members of a sample of 150 are “still active”, then what percentage of total 450 also fall into that category? When agencies are seeking extra funds to address a problem, it’s always tempting to use inflation to make that problem appear bigger. Where I don’t follow earlier logic is that if 50% of the Puyallup homeless children are hispanic, it is somehow a given that 100% of those are not actual residents of Puyallup.

    TMell – There is only one error in your last comment. The number we are being told will be moving into that project is 10, not 24. If you were at that sham of a meeting last month, I was in the second row, near the woman from the homeless coallition.

  14. puyallupmutt says:

    artiepuy – my interest was only puyallup city limits.

    the school district made a pitch as did other trying to get the city to pony up 1% of its annual budget to the homeless.

    when they quoted 450 homeless kids, the alarm bells went off. so, public requests were filed with the school district to get the numbers and quantifying what the city of puyallup would be morally obligated to support.

    as it turned out, the proiblem was really only 10% of what was portrayed.

    besides, council member knutsen would not allow one dime of charity to be spent on the homeless.

    the city of puyallup spends half a million for swampland to one of its friends from bonney lake, hundreds of thousands on art, and is in bed with the two most corrupt developers.

    perhaps if the champions for the homeless slipped some unmarked bills in an envelope for certain council members and the city hall leadership, the homeless would be well represented ? just ask the former swamp owner and arts chairman.

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