Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Tag: homelessness

June
22nd

TACOMA: Homelessness is not the problem

Re: “Homeless dilemma: Between rocks and a hard place” (Matt Driscoll column, 6-18).

Please, let’s discuss the real problem behind the City of Tacoma denying the “homeless” a grass strip next to the library.

We do not have a homeless problem. We have a drug problem, and we need to stop hiding it in feel-good euphemisms.

With a few rare exceptions, the “homeless” in our city are drug addicts and street alcoholics. They are not homeless because of the lack of housing. They are homeless and jobless because they are drunk and/or drugged 24/7. Any money they might come across is

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June
10th

TACOMA: Is there a better way than boulders?

Re: “Between rocks and a hard place” (Matt Driscoll column, 6-9).

The boulders near the Tacoma Main Library represent a multi-layered issue that needs more dialogue on how we as a city care for all of our citizens.

How do we work towards making a safer city? How do we support the needs of businesses and create an environment for them to flourish while also supporting those in times of suffering and uncertainty - such as those with criminal backgrounds or those experiencing homelessness, mental illness or chemical dependency.

We as a city need to ask more questions as well as discern

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May
4th

HOMELESS: Help them instead of hiding them

Thanks to Matt Driscoll for alerting us (column, 5-3) to the concern that Tacoma might be embarrassed about its homeless population when on display before the whole world in late June.

Let’s hope that the concern leads to appropriate action that helps solve the problem of homelessness rather than simply hide it from view.

One obviously temporary solution, yet a good safe and clean one, is a tent city, carefully modeled after a very successful system in Seattle. I am part of a tiny team working on getting the system established here. For more information, and to lend a

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Dec.
11th

ERIC RENZ: His death leaves a huge vacuum

Re: “Renz helped those in need, and they helped him” (TNT, 12-11).

Eric Renz had an unassuming nature. Yet when he spoke, people listened because he operated from the position of the collective good.

I initially met Eric during the recall effort (of former Pierce County Assessor Dale Washam). A week before his accident, I reconnected with him over coffee to talk about his work with Puyallup homeless citizens.

While he didn’t mention his volunteerism, I knew that he spent most afternoons at the New Hope Center and heavily supported Freezing Nights. He believed all people have value, regardless

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Sep.
9th

TACOMA: Strike a better balance for homeless

Every morning I walk around Wright Park and notice homeless people who have camped there for the night. Their numbers are growing and so are the eyesores. Surely we can strike a balance between upholding the dignity of the homeless and reining in their collateral possessions and makeshift tents.

I suspect some of these people have PTSD, and sleeping in the park affords them a sense of freedom from the pressure of being in too close contact with other people. They probably feel safe camping in this park.

I believe more shelters need to be designed with respect to their needs

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Nov.
15th

HOMELESS: County still has a long way to go

Nov. 17-23 is the 30th National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. Pierce County has made great improvements in resources and housing for the most vulnerable segment of our population. However, as a community, we have a long trek ahead of us to end homelessness.

Most recent counts indicate that on any given night, there are 1,997 homeless adults and children in Pierce County. While this is a great decrease compared to years past, we are still struggling to provide basic services to people experiencing homelessness in our community.

We have combat veterans sleeping in their cars, teenagers squatting in abandoned

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April
17th

TACOMA: Offenders need places to live, too

Re: “Program could boost housing for offenders” (TNT, 4-17).

Offenders being released have served their time in prison, whether it may be two years or 10. For whatever reason they were imprisoned, they received their punishment.

Offenders will always be released from prison sooner or later. So what if their family doesn’t take them in? What if they have nowhere else to stay? Wouldn’t this result in increased rates of homelessness?

Tacoma’s 18-month pilot project to house offenders is a wonderful opportunity for offenders to show they are like anyone else, they just made mistakes in their past. This

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April
15th

BUDGET: Senate plan would hurt needy people

The state Senate operating and capital budgets proposed in the past two weeks would cut housing, health care and child care for vulnerable citizens in these ways:

• Eliminating the Aged, Blind and Disabled program.

• Cutting state homelessness programs by 52 percent.

• Increasing the number of people experiencing homelessness during the 2013-2015 biennium by 20,400 more people.

• Drastically cutting a variety of safety net programs like Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and Working Connections Child Care.

• Significantly cutting the Housing Trust Fund

While an education-focused budget for K-12 and higher education will help solve many of

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