Letter: Avoid stereotyping the homeless with broad brush


I want to build on Ms. Duggan’s letter published in the, June 23 Whidbey News-Times.

Foremost, I want to thank Ms. Duggan for her selfless service as a social worker and for her subsequent community service.

There are four points I would like to add:

First, let’s all be mindful of painting members of any segment of our community with the same broad brush – the homeless, the military, the Catholics, the Rotarians, etc.

Most of the homeless I have met and served through The Haven or Spin Café seem to exhibit the same proportion of positive and unattractive traits as my sheltered friends. Most seem to accept responsibility and are very mindful of their situation. Most seem interested in and pursue self-improvement. And most are appreciative of (if a little embarrassed by) the assistance provided by our local service clubs, churches, agencies and governing officials.

Second, there is certainly a more visible minority who are not very socially aware. Their situations are oftentimes more complex and their behavior sometimes uncontrollable.

Third, one impactful and near-term step that the community could take to address loitering is to implement a drop-in center where unsheltered residents could go when the Haven closes at 6:30 every morning. Not having a place to go can naturally result in loitering. Most of us who are sheltered don’t loiter because we stay home.

Lastly, with respect to the reference of the proposed affordable housing project on Pioneer, it should be clarified that this is workforce housing, not housing for the homeless, though five of the 50 units may house homeless veterans. Note that Oak Harbor has a number of existing affordable, workforce housing projects and in addition to being very handsome, they are not magnets for “drug deals and drunkenness.”

George Saul

Oak Harbor

More in Opinion

Cartoon for June 15, 2019

Cartoon for June 15, 2019… Continue reading

Letter: Many changes are needed at Oak Harbor City Hall

Editor, The April 10 Whidbey News-Times contained a front-page article that Patrick… Continue reading

Letter: Writer’s suggestion in his letter ‘smacks of fascism’

Editor, The pretentious critique by John Thompson of Dr. Dawn Keith-Madeiros’ Sound… Continue reading

Letter: Steps should be taken to regain control of fire district

Editor, Where or where has the fire district gone? It was with… Continue reading

Letter: Idea for moving jet practices a good one

Editor, The May 18 suggestion in the letter by Robert Brown, Walt… Continue reading

Letter: ‘Sanctuary’ is falling victim to progress

Editor, My wife’s mother turned 104 years old earlier this month. Now… Continue reading

Cartoon for June 12, 2019

Cartoon for June 12, 2019… Continue reading

Sound Off: Affordable housing: Alleviating financial burden

By Shawna Smith My name is Shawna Smith and I am a… Continue reading

Letter: Garage a blessing to those in most need

Editor, Garage of Blessings is a nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is… Continue reading

Most Read