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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 31, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Fixing homelessness: A fix needs to be driven by the homeless themselves

In your editorial “Mayor Ed Murray and homelessness task force must look for long-term solution,” [Opinion, Dec. 22] you brought attention to allow for encampments as a temporary solution to alleviate the growing homeless population in Seattle. Community participation should engage not only interested stakeholders — nonprofits, advocates and local government leaders — but the homeless people who provide essential perspective for a fix.

Homelessness will continue if we don’t address the necessary preventive measures that make people more vulnerable. The National Homeless Coalition has been promoting this directive as homeless-led organizations partner with local governments. Some of these programs incorporate harm-reduction intervention that focus on acceptance to create continuum of care.

“Regional cooperation” must focus on preventive strategies that incorporate affordable housing and health care, domestic violence, mental illness and addiction disorders. It has become clear that the housing-first paradigm must include partnerships to deliver accessible services that address these social issues.

Engaging the faces behind homelessness have been critical to the success of providing lasting programs that mitigate these barriers. And unless they become integral members in these coalitions, groups and city programs, temporary fixes is all that can be had — the product of a failed 10 years initiative.

Marissa Cruz, Seattle
Medical Steering Committee member of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council

 

Comments | More in homeless | Topics: homeless, Marissa Cruz, Mayor Ed Murray

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