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Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words

October 3, 2009 at 4:01 PM

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SHARE/WHEEL: the homeless

Posted by Letters editor

Money would be put to good use

Editor, The Times:

Wednesday’s editorial criticizing the tactics of SHARE/WHEEL implies the poor and homeless should simply shut up, remain invisible, and wait patiently and quietly until constructive long-term solutions finally resolve the tragedy of homelessness [“Homeless theatrics,” Opinion, Sept. 30].

How long will this wait be? Another 20 or 30 years? As a social worker who has worked for more than 30 years with many thousands of impoverished and homeless individuals, I can attest to the ongoing and exigent needs of increasing numbers of marginalized citizens.

Illness, unemployment and underemployment can all precipitate a crisis in the life of one person or an entire family that can result in literally having no place to live. The current recession has ensured that whole new waves of previously economically secure folks have now been ignominiously dumped onto mean streets and into overcrowded shelters, already teeming with the discarded ciphers of the poor.

SHARE/WHEEL continues to provide one of the most cost-effective systems for safely sheltering the homeless. The money they are asking for will enable homeless persons to get to a shelter by bus.

In addition to the various direct services they so professionally administer, SHARE/WHEEL is to be saluted for the persistent and public political advocacy they perform on behalf of people so many would simply wish to ignore.

Our municipal leaders, as well as The Times editorial staff, should listen to SHARE/WHEEL and respond appropriately to their request for funds.

The money will be used to alleviate the tribulations of a lot of individuals who are asking only for a bus ticket to get in somewhere safe and off the streets.

— Joe Martin, Seattle

Times should help, instead of chastise homeless

Once again The Times chastises the homeless, this time to include SHARE/WHEEL.

The Times, though it apparently does not see it, is more reactionary in using any opportunity to attack homeless-organizing groups than the homeless are purported to be by the newspaper.

Theatrics, as the editorial called them, exceed the newspaper’s apathy and self-righteousness.

Instead of being a partner to end homelessness, there was an editorial criticizing the homeless and, in this case, mentioning Seattle’s housing levy as an afterthought.

Had The Times invited SHARE/WHEEL to meet with the newspaper’s editorial board for conversation, perhaps the suggestions made that somehow these homeless advocates mismanage money would not have been made so carelessly.

What is truly at work here are rising costs that every nonprofit organization suffers.

Instead we get the same attitude that led Mayor Greg Nickels to place out of the running in the mayor’s race.

— Bill Kilin-Hackett, Bellevue

Leave your baggage at the door

The Seattle Times editorial page has the ability to communicate to a large number of people good and useful information. The Times should be ashamed they are more focused on a hang-up with Tent City and SHARE/WHEEL than the true problems with homelessness.

While the newspaper could communicate good information and help be an advocate for these folks, a recent editorial on the topic reminds me of a right-wing talk-show host who is stuck in the same old rhetoric.

I have volunteered at Tent City on the Eastside for the last year, and from my experiences the editorial board’s position does not reflect reality of the residents who live there. I know the issue will not go away with or without Tent City, but we need much more support from politicians and editorial staff to even make a dent on the issue.

Please leave your hang-ups and baggage off the editorial page, and be objective and enlightening.

— Steve Burk, Sammamish

No place on the mayor’s lawn

I have been an avid supporter of SHARE/WHEEL for years, however, I believe they are now more interested in what they can get from society, rather than what they can do to support themselves and those in their organization.

I have hired Tent City people for all manners of minor jobs for years, however I was recently told they don’t go on jobs for less than $10 an hour.

I no longer call Tent City or any other SHARE/WHEEL group for odd jobs.

— Vicki Decker, Bothell

Two birds with one stone

After reading about the strategy the homeless and SHARE/WHEEL are taking, I came up with a fantastic idea.

Mayor Greg Nickels has been very monetarily generous with this group, and it seems they need more money for bus vouchers for transportation. I was thinking maybe Nickels could supply the group with such funds, provided they use the vouchers en route to cleanup projects this city is already trying to fund.

This would benefit Seattle greatly, especially in the green world that is evolving.

I will await Nickels’ reply to my idea while I go to my job so I can make money to pay for my residence.

— Dave Black, North Bend

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