Letter writer: Housing offers homeless the opportunity to stabilize

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I agree that a lot of the services offered to homeless and impoverished people have the potential to foster dependency, but I don’t think that’s the only possible result [“Let’s Get Real: Homeless Need a Hand Up, Not a Handout,” Jan. 27, Xpress]. Giving homeless people the option of housing provides an opportunity to stabilize, recover or heal if that’s what they want and/or need. I don’t see how this is a bad thing.

Many homeless people are dealing with issues that would break most of us: mental illness, addiction, histories of intense and repeated physical, sexual or emotional abuse, the loss of multiple figures of social and family support, etc.  It is often a combination of these things. On top of that, you have to watch your back constantly. Your physical safety is regularly in jeopardy, and it’s pretty much illegal for you to live outside of a shelter. While there are basic services in place, you are right in that they fall woefully short of addressing the level of need.

I think that [the writer is] totally on point with what [he is] saying about the lack of opportunity and how that it extends beyond the streets and into housing projects and poor neighborhoods/areas throughout the city and county.

This is poverty caused by a history of social, economic and racial inequality and injustice that persists today. Homelessness is very much tied into poverty, but there is often (but not always) something more than this that keeps someone homeless. There is a root issue that is exacerbated by being on the streets.

[The writer’s] idea of the city providing opportunity to disenfranchised people through a street cleanup is a way of chipping away at poverty by presenting an opportunity. That’s what Housing First is for homeless people whose suffering is such that they are unable to recover their own agency in the present moment.

If I lost my job, spent up my savings and lost my place, I’d go live with friends or family who would give me an opportunity to get back on my feet. For some (not enough) of those that aren’t privileged enough to have that opportunity, there are supportive housing programs.

Housing is not the solution for everyone, and it does not need to be the end of the road for anyone. Some people need that support and others do not. While some people choose to be homeless and some people choose to manipulate the system, a lot of people are truly stuck in homelessness and need assistance getting out.

That does not mean that they will always be dependent on the government.  I agree that giving away housing doesn’t solve the underlying problems — not even a little bit. But what it does do, for those who need it, is create an opportunity for these problems to be successfully addressed. It provides a safe place to heal.

Our community needs to do a lot more to address the causes of poverty and to create opportunities out of it. But please acknowledge that for many people, social assistance programs, including housing, are an opportunity and not a permanent way of life.

— Derek Towle
AHOPE Program Director
Homeward Bound of WNC

SHARE
About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

12 thoughts on “Letter writer: Housing offers homeless the opportunity to stabilize

  1. Lulz

    LOL, as long as loons like you are around to crusade for people that do absolutely nothing to improve their situation, they don’t need anything else lulz. He lefty loon, does a 70% single mother rate do anything to foster a healthy society? Will those children have a chance to get ahead when they’re born in FREE HOUSING on top of their FREE EDUCATION and FREE HEALTHCARE? Must be that systemic racism that keeps them down instead LOL.

    Go away lulz!.

  2. boatrocker

    I always find it funny how people claim the homeless choose to be homeless and are gaming the system.
    Let’s see, no home, out in the freezing cold with only the clothes on your back, mental health issues, addictions, cops hassling you as your daily life-

    Yep, those homeless sure have pulled one over on us taxpayers- they’ve got it made!
    The cost of building affordable housing vs one F-35 fighter jet…hmmm I’ll take the fighter jet please because freedom. Sigh.

    I often ask folks in the real non comments section world if they’d be willing to confront an actual homeless person on the street and call them a mooch. Funny how nobody takes me up on that offer.

    • Lulz

      LOL, homeless have places to go lulz. Problem is, and this is totally never mentioned by people such as yourself, they need to actually make the first step and effort before someone helps them out lulz. Of course though you seem impervious to that one little notion and just assume giving things away is the solution. It’s not and never will be lulz. Tired of being out in the cold? Well what’s more important? The alcohol or a warm bed? That one has to stay sober in order to continue getting the place to sleep is on them lulz.

    • The Real World

      @boatrocker – what is obvious is that those of us who aren’t and never have been homeless actually don’t have real understanding of the myriad reasons that people are. Nor do we have real comprehension as to what to do about it.

      What troubles me is that the “do-gooders” (as opposed to those truly trying to make a difference) don’t actually seem to care what the reasons are or of discovering the most effective ways to do anything about it. I conclude this b/c the ones who like to jump on the bandwagon preaching how it should be handled DO NOT, when provided the opportunity, seek to learn the realities. Questions……questions yield information. There have been a couple of grand opportunities recently to pose them but, where were the bleeding hearts?

      They don’t really care about improving or solving the issue. Or they would be gathering real info from the people who live it. No, it is their self-righteousness they care about. And engaging in the juvenile good cop/bad cop routine.

      I urge you to read these…plus the comments. Don’t know for sure but figure that the commenter called: Homeless Guy towards end of comments on the first link is, John Kloeckner, who wrote the subsequent article. Note the lack of inquiring questions posed to him. And note the difference in his revelations vs the certainty put forth by first letter writer. Yeessh.
      http://mountainx.com/opinion/letter-writer-actionable-outrage-needed-to-tackle-homelessness-crisis/
      and
      http://mountainx.com/opinion/homeless-need-a-hand-up-not-handouts/

      • boatrocker

        I look forward to The Real World’s tell all autobiography of being homeless.
        Will you sign your book for me?

        • The Real World

          Ok boat – you’re another one who just wants to spout off about issues minus any real attempt to understand them.
          Another full of hot air time-waster.
          Got it.

          • boatrocker

            My posting name is boatrocker- not boat. If I was a boat I would be Homer’s Argos or Verne’s Nautilus.

            Nope The Real World- See how I use your posting name correctly?

            For having read the original articles and oogy icky righty Dickensian comments you posted links to (done that, vomited in my mouth already) for homeless and the supposed reasons for being homeless-

            I agree with your posts (mostly)- Booom! Ad Absurdum strikes again! It would be nice to read your “I’ve been homeless” treatise, but neither one of us would write it right.

            Homes, aka a place to hang your hat is important. Too bad certain lulzian posters think that freezing to death in an alley is some sort of Rayndian justice.

          • Peter Robbins

            On this website, Real World, you’ll find a letter to the editor discussing an Albuquerque litter-pickup program that seems similar to the idea John Kloeckner proposed.

      • Lulz

        LOL, because they think tossing FREE money at it is the solution. Like somehow a GIFT of free housing will somehow change a person overnight into suddenly being responsible lulz. If that were the case, section 8 housing wouldn’t be infested with drug dealers and prostitutes lulz. Merely because the residents of such areas would be grateful for the help and do their part to keep what OTHERS are paying for and chase the criminals out lulz. Yet the opposite is true and many that live in such places CONTRIBUTE to the crime. Either by direct participation or ignoring it lulz.

        • boatrocker

          Again, I challenge you to post a video of you within arms reach of a homeless family (must include kids, not dogs on a hemp leash) telling them how much of a mooch, a drain on society and lazy they are. Ayn Raynd was the original welfare queen. I hate her for so many ideological things, but also for the spelling of her name as no spelling of it looks right when typing it. You know what I mean.

          I’ve suggested the same thing to white power types who I’ve met in person (trust me, I didn’t seek them out, booze just loosened their tongues). I’ve asked why they don’t venture into downtown Atlanta or Detroit with a megaphone to spread their views without the luxury of 12 of their friends with neck tattoos and red suspenders by their side.

          But keep de-humanizing the poors if it helps. They don’t feel pain like the rest of us.

  3. tsalagi sister

    What a bunch of clueless people.Walk a mile in someone’s shoe.This town postulates endlessly about that which they have never experienced and then call it wisdom.
    Sad ..Have been homeless due to criminal actions of others.Been judged by the left and right. You just have not an iota of a cle unless you have been there.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.