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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 4, 2013 at 7:01 PM

The homeless problem in Seattle

The homeless have the ability to work, so give them jobs

In Derek Low’s guest column [“Find a site to replace Nickelsville,” Opinion, Dec. 4], he states the well-meaning motivation of caring people drawn to social work with a desire to support those in need.

But he doesn’t mention an underlying and greater need of all adults — the desire for self-esteem through work and self-support. The article fails to mention that homeless people are jobless people. Why do social-service agencies focus primarily on provision of support for homelessness? Why has the City Council spent $500,000 on maintaining an ever-expanding population of homelessness? Why didn’t the City Council consider offering the money to Costco, Safeway, Home Depot and other businesses to help train homeless people so that they can eventually provide for themselves?

Yes, many homeless people are unable to work; social-service professionals are needed. However, every survey taken by people who are homeless that I have read — many with mental illness — say what they want as their first priority is a job. It is time for Seattle to shift its focus and policies from perpetual support of homelessness to greater recognition of skill-building and jobs. Homeless individuals have the ability — and the need — to support themselves.

— Eleanor Owen, Seattle

Pay more attention to Seattle homeless crisis

I agree with guest columnist Derek Low’s opinion that we should pay more attention to the crisis of homelessness in Seattle.

As he writes: “While waiting for permanent housing, the least our great city can do is provide a legal and safe place to pitch a tent.” Before we consider Amazon’s Jeff Bezos’ plan to use small drones to deliver his stuff to our online shoppers in 30 minutes, let’s apply our creativity to solving life-or-death issues like homelessness.

Maybe our new socialist councilmember will apply the kick in the pants we apparently need.

— Jerome Chroman, Seattle

Comments | More in homeless | Topics: homeless

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