Letter to the Editor: Daniel Raphael

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Dear Editor,

Thank you for your timely, excellent article about homelessness. As coincidence would have it, today I went to Tacoma Weekly hoping to find information on this very subject. I live between a street bordering Wright Park and, behind our building, a busy alley. In the former, I daily see people sleeping rough in pitched tents, under bushes, or simply on the grass, with a bit of cardboard beneath them. They are not there for fun, nor are they “slumming” to see how the other half lives; they are there because our society, propelled as it is by the pursuit of wealth for a few and shortages for the rest, does not reliably provide basic necessities such as affordable, decent housing. The alley behind the building is a regular route for people who go through the many recycle and garbage receptacles in search of items they can either use themselves or, possibly more often, turn in at recycling centers for a bit of money. They too, are neither tourists nor well-to-do persons in search of a dive into the demimonde; for them, this is serious business.

The guest editorial from Councilmember Ladenburg answered my other question, about transitional housing provided by the City of Tacoma. That there is a waiting list is neither surprising nor a sign that we are adequately addressing the root problem of homelessness; nonetheless, it is certainly better there be a way for people to queue for housing – even temporary, as this is – than there be no recourse at all to the street. While I suspect your publication is not the place to delve into our economic system and why it can provide everything for a few and insufficiency for the many, I would be remiss to not at least mention, “does not have to be this way.” Human beings created “the marketplace economy,” and human beings can produce something new and better.

Daniel Raphael
Tacoma, WA

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