[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, submitted by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of South King Media, nor its staff:]
Hi Daniel – thank you for your very thoughtful letter regarding the many complexities and enormous challenges we must accept and face in our regional & local effort to find solutions to the housing crisis we face.
I’m sorry to admit that the divide and vitriol it has created is a barrier to finding solutions.
It’s easy but useless to cast aspersions and even hatred toward those who are unhoused, many suffering mental health issues and other chronic illnesses, but that’s mostly what I’m hearing.
That endless banter will solve NOTHING.
Let’s hear some community-based solutions and ideas and bring them forward. Let’s roll up our sleeves and make a positive difference. Let’s NOT accept the status quo. It’s failed as witnessed by Friday’s sweep solving nothing except moving the un-housed group one block away.
We can do better than that as a community.
I propose the Burien Council convene a city wide series of open community meeting with a facilitator to FOCUS on ideas & solutions to help solve the unhoused in our community.
There are many ways to approach this but city staff and especially the city manager and city council members should engage with the community to identify the process. Should we consider ideas that have worked? What are the barriers that STOP solutions? How can a person or group of people create change? With the millions of tax dollars given to governments allocated to finding solutions, minimal progress has been made. Why? Who gets blamed and why? We know the blame game doesn’t work, so what should we do NOW?
Leaders should include the business community, religious groups, diverse organizations and others. We need ALL hands on deck. There are certainly many other ideas for offering solutions. Please bring them forward. Nothing is unsolvable.
Working together while acknowledging the differences we face is the beginning for positive change. Let’s make it happen.
– Sally Nelson
Former Burien Mayor, 2000-2001
EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you have an opinion you’d like to share with our highly engaged local Readers? If so, please email your Letter to the Editor to [email protected] and, pending review and verification that you’re a real human being, we may publish it. Letter writers must use their full names and cite sources – as well as provide an address and phone number (NOT for publication but for verification purposes).
One thing I don’t understand, with the millions spent on the issue of homelessness, is why some fairly simple and compassionate amenities haven’t been provided to “tent cities”. How about providing dumpsters, Porta-potties and hand-washing sanitation stations where-ever these encampments set up. Surely maintaining these items (and perhaps sustaining some dignity to the users) would be less costly than cleaning up after a dismantled encampment?
I find it mind boggling the elected “officials” in this area of our once beautiful state seem unwilling or unable to employ the LAW and common sense in curtailing open theft from businesses, as well as private citizens, with no repercussions whatsoever to the guilty. Why have we been forced with vagrancy and thievery as as an acceptable lifestyle? Put the homeless to work cleaning up encampment messes and highways and punish those that break the law. Refusing work, treatment, and/or housing should never be an acceptable option. Lawlessness MUST be punished before any of us hard working, taxpaying citizens can be expected to sacrifice more of our right to a peaceful existence. Wrong is wrong. Since our “leaders” clearly aren’t able or willing to do the jobs they are charged with, it’s past time to elect those that have the fortitude to make necessary decisions that will change the current dynamic.
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