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Response to a letter about a murder

First and foremost, this was a tragedy that should never have happened and my heart goes out to the victim’s family and witnesses.

I would like to respond to the narrative that blames homeless shelters and the homeless as a whole for the actions of one individual.
I want to emphasize that the actions of one individual do not represent an entire group. Just as we shouldn’t generalize about other groups based on the actions of one person, we shouldn’t do the same with the homeless. Recent data shows that a large portion of our homeless population is made up of families and the elderly, not the stereotypical drug addicts. I won’t deny that these types of homeless people exist and are often the most visible. A large percentage of our population is one unexpected expense away from potentially becoming homeless. As a renter, I understand that I, like so many others, am one decision, one broken pipe, or one electrical fire away from a similar situation.
What we need to emphasize is the need for better mental health services and support systems. The problem is not homelessness itself, but the lack of adequate mental health care and support for vulnerable individuals.
Homeless shelters and support centers often provide critical services including safety, basic needs, and support to help people get back on their feet. Many of these agencies work with local law enforcement, allowing our police and sheriff’s office to be notified of potential problems. Without these shelters, many more people would be in dire situations, potentially increasing public safety concerns.
I would like to emphasize the importance of addressing the root causes of homelessness, such as poverty, lack of affordable housing and inadequate mental health care, rather than scapegoating the homeless.
We must advocate for solutions that increase community safety while maintaining compassion and support for all residents. We need community programs that focus on rehabilitation, mental health care and integration of the homeless into society.
We as a community must understand the complexities of homelessness and advocate for more constructive and compassionate solutions. This is a national problem, not just a local problem. If we really want to solve this problem, it will take everyone involved.
The more people who are genuinely involved in our government and community, the more possible solutions there are. We cannot continue to throw up our hands and retreat when our side, candidates or party do not win. I know it’s frustrating when we don’t feel heard, but giving up only guarantees that you won’t be heard. As a local leader, I know our local governments listen to our communities, but usually it’s a small vocal group that shows up. If you want to be heard, email your comments instead of just posting them on social media, or better yet, come to a meeting and participate.

Mitch Parsons