Letter: Blame for homeless issues doesn’t lie with nonprofits


A letter of response to Dawn Keith-Madeiros.

Our family moved to Oak Harbor in October 1975 and built our home south of town. Oak Harbor had one stoplight, Kow Korner and KFC, and stores were closed on Sundays. Window signs read, “Closed. See you in church.”

My parents were ministers in The Salvation Army and had inner city churches in St. Louis and other midwest cities, so I grew up with a deep awareness of the needs of the poor.

I realize Oak Harbor’s demographics are changing, but it is unfair to blame all on the Garage of Blessings and Spin Café. Our church makes dinner for Spin one day a week to feed the poor as Christ taught us to.

I volunteer at the Garage of Blessings and 90 percent of the people are not homeless, just older folks on fixed incomes, young couples getting started and single moms. We are not the reason there are more homeless.

We are just trying to help people get on their feet. Counseling is provided to help them do that, and some changes have been made to insure people only take what they need.

Seattle’s gross homeless problem draws people to our part of the state, and news articles claiming Oak Harbor is a freeloaders’ paradise don’t help.

I know there are real consequences to the group of homeless that abuses all of the programs set out to help them, but please don’t blame all of the problems on two groups that are really trying to help.

Sharlene Harrison

Oak Harbor

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