Nice article by Ron Donoho on the homeless in San Diego [“Homeless stats get worse,” Dec. 2]. I volunteer at a couple of nonprofits that deal directly with the homeless: Uptown Community Service Center (uptowncsc.org) and Dreams for Change (dreamsforchange.org). I am a retired seaman with no college degrees so here goes my take on the situation.
As I see it there is no way anyone can broad stroke the homeless—for 8,742 people there are 8,742 stories. What I see is three groups, more or less:
1) Some that are down on their luck, have had some illness, etc. They will get off the street making use of the various services to get a job and start paying taxes again.
2) These folks need a hand up to get their lives together and get trained for a job, and made aware of the responsibilities of a job and paying rent on time.
3) The third group I really don’t see them able to hold down a job due to mental illness issues, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, etc.
Maybe I’m way off the mark but this is what I see. I work on a food truck that takes EBT and the food is reasonably priced. We park close to the Neil Good Day Center and the people from there come and are very happy to get hot food (burritos, cheeseburgers etc.)
So I am interacting with them on a personal level. I have had many eye-opening experiences but one thing that really surprised me is the lack of empathy of some of the people I know, those of us with houses to go to and warm beds. Church-going Christian types use the broad stroke to paint all the homeless. Dreams for Change has parking lots for people living in their cars. Some of them are working full time but have not been able to get the money up to start paying for a place to stay.
I don’t cry as much now that I have been so exposed, and I hope I don’t lose my empathy for our less fortunate brothers and sisters.
David Sullivan, Normal Heights
It’s nice to be humanistic, but not wise, to the degree of wanting everyone to enjoy our marvelous civilization [“Playing politics with Syrian refugees,” Nov. 25]. Accepting these refugees is not, to any degree, favorable to us who will pay the costs, never to recover them. It is also not wise to let in crowds at a rate that does not allow us time to vet each of them, or the expense of doing so. Being “socially responsible” in addition to all our other mistakes is what we keep doing to continually increase our national debt to support China with our borrowing.
The concern we rightfully have about spies and saboteurs among the good people tells us that we should screen each one as to what he has to offer this nation. We need welfare dependents like we need a cancer.
Your socialistic humanism is misplaced on this subject, I think. Never mind emotion, use your arms-length wisdom. Ship them back to their part of the globe to save our selves, which is, in fact, our prime directive. And keep in mind that our actions in the Middle East caused the creation of ISIS by an inhuman named Bagdadi. Let’s not add another mistake to our inventory of ridiculous acts.
Saul Harmon Gritz, Hillcrest
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