Letter: Publisher should use fewer anecodotes, do research

Editor,

Keven Graves’ recent Opinion column about homelessness invites empathy, but it fails to look deeply enough to reflect responsibly on a very complex, tragic issue. Across the nation, it is estimated that between 2.5 million and 3.5 million people are sleeping in shelters, temporary housing and in the outdoors. 1.2 million are school children.

Families: 37.4 percent of the total. Source: National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, 2018 Fact Sheet

Contrary to your allusion to criminals, people with mental illness and addiction, the primary causes, in order, are income disparity combined with shrinking affordable housing; extremely poor families struggling to afford food, medicines, transportation and childcare; renters facing eviction due to a prior foreclosure, stemming from the 2008 bank frauds; and women escaping domestic violence

Other studies cited in the same report cited essentially parallel causes. The fact sheet is available at http://bit.ly/2R5HBSv

By and large, these are not addicted mentally ill criminals. The homeless on Whidbey and beyond want to work, to be self-sufficient, to raise their kids and contribute to the community. The primary barriers are economic, not character flaws. They are veterans, families, survivors of abuse. They are our neighbors.

In a community where tradesmen are increasingly scarce as compassion, it makes sense that increasing scholarships for vocational training, support around basic life skills and access to affordable health care services would make a huge difference. Perhaps people would be less likely to turn to crime in desperate acts to feed their children. Perhaps escaping into addiction would be less necessary. Perhaps we could better support people with mental illness.

Perhaps newspaper publishers would start with a little research and write fewer anecdotes. We would all be better served.

Nic Wildeman

Greenbank

More in Letters to the Editor

Letter: Cartoonist doesn’t understand gun laws

Editor, Regarding the political cartoon in your Aug. 10 issue that shows… Continue reading

Letter: Stop throwing your butts onto the roads

Editor, Just over a year ago, my best friend and I decided… Continue reading

Letter: Christmas In July Food and Fund Drive a huge success

Editor, We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere… Continue reading

Letter: Business community in Oak Harbor is better off thanks to Cribb

Editor, I wanted to express my sincere gratitude to Christine Cribb for… Continue reading

Letter: Time spent in emergency room less than satisfactory

Editor, My first experience in the WhidbeyHealth emergency room was in May… Continue reading

Letter: Despite hyperbole, lawsuit not about shuttering base

Editor, The Bounce-on-Whidbey group is ramping up its rhetoric and scaring politicians… Continue reading

Letter: Kudos to city for its update to Windjammer

Editor, I’d like to extend heartfelt thanks and congratulations to the City… Continue reading

Letter: Humans aren’t responsible for climage change

Editor, I want to address the “Climate 101” lesson that Mr. Piazzon… Continue reading

Letter: State AG’s lawsuit about activism, not science

Editor, The Whidbey community should be quite cynical concerning the Washington Attorney… Continue reading

Most Read