Look into the faces of the homeless
Letters to the Editor
Published February 9, 2005
Re: Williams Park is a wretched place, letter, Jan. 30.
I am so sick of people complaining about the homeless, and I have not seen anyone come up with any solutions to the problem. I have to admit that I don't like thinking about it as a problem, but I believe it is a chance for St. Petersburg to step up to the plate.
Instead of buying all these precious oak trees to line certain neighborhood streets, why don't we try to find funding somewhere to take one of the many vacant buildings and turn it into a center for the homeless to go to get help? This is not a far-fetched idea. We can't ignore them. I think it is time that everyone actually looked into their faces.
We have no idea what brought them to their situation. Think about it. The center could house a mental health center, clean restrooms, food kitchen and food bank, and it should have a job center in it.
I have lived in St. Petersburg for 20 years, and I am noticing that there are more homeless people. But instead of trying to send them off to a different part of the city, why don't we actually do what God and Jesus would want us to do? Help our fellow man.
I am beginning to believe that this city is more interested in profits from condo building downtown than in the actual taxpayers. How about if, for once, the city did a good thing and actually helped people instead of making us vote on airports and bayfronts?
-- Kevin Wagner, St. Petersburg
Empathize, act instead of complaining
Re: Williams Park is a wretched place, letter.
I was disheartened to see this insensitive letter. The writer crudely relayed his dissatisfaction with what he considers to be the homeless "problem" in Williams Park in St. Petersburg. He wonders why the police don't just get rid of these people. What does he suggest? That the police round up our homeless population and place them in a "homeless camp," just as Adolf Hitler took care of his "problem" with the Jewish population of Europe? What I believe the writer needs to do, if he is concerned about our homeless population, is get involved.
First, he should put himself in their shoes. What would his life be like if he abruptly, through no fault of his own, lost all his worldly possessions?
Second, instead of just complaining, do something productive to help resolve this situation that he finds so disdainful. Write a letter to his congressman or start a neighborhood coalition to try to get our homeless people the assistance that they so dearly want and need. Third, and most important, remember that homeless people are just like him - they are also all children of God and should not be considered of any less worth than any other U.S. citizen.
So, instead of trying to find "another part of the city these people can be run off to," the writer should try to live his life as an understanding, compassionate citizen and an asset to our community, by always remembering the Golden Rule. God bless the writer. I'll pray for him - and for our homeless population.
-- Amanda Haworth, Largo
[Last modified February 9, 2005, 00:43:19]
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