To the Whidbey Island community, this letter is to encourage communication, understanding and sensible problem-solving in our community.
We must meet the needs of all our neighbors, including the physically and mentally challenged, those who suffer from addiction, the elderly, the sick and the frail.
Many of us have been able to work and/or establish businesses which we are proud of and want to hold to a high standard. I understand that but we cannot abuse or neglect those in poverty or who are homeless.
Personally, I have worked all my life to support my family of five sons, often two jobs, but now I cannot afford a place to live on my Social Security and retirement.
Many of the people on the streets have mental health issues which are a huge barrier in being able to use and follow through with the few resources that are available. Others suffer from severe substance abuse which needs longer term treatment than what is available to them now.
Housing with medical support is absolutely the only answer to many of these problems. It is a basic need whether you are healthy, wealthy and wise, or not.
Be thankful for what you have and help those who have not. Remember, they are human beings with feelings, thoughts, hopes and fears.
Most of them are more afraid of you than you are of them.
Their focus is on where will I sleep tonight, what will I eat, how will I stay warm and dry, and where will I use the bathroom.
I do not do business with those who have closed their bathrooms to the public.
There are many ways to make positive changes instead of trashing the camps and destroying the few belongings they need to survive. This is their home inside or out and we are their community.