Today, while reading The Bellingham Herald, I was quite happy to read the article “Annual Survey of Whatcom County Homeless.” The homeless issue we are facing as a nation is a real problem, and its not just going to disappear. We must face this challenge head on and find ways to help those in dire needs.
I lived in Seattle for about four years, and it was my first experience living in a city. Working downtown, it was impossible to not pass someone who was down on their luck. Everywhere I walked, every alley I passed, even my place of work, was surrounded by people who had no place to go. Sadly, at times I felt so overwhelmed I just wanted to shut my eyes and pretend it didn’t exist, but that is not how you create change. Shelters are becoming way too full to house even a quarter of these people. And when you have been constantly told that the shelter is full, what else are you supposed to do but wander the streets hopelessly?
Now living in Bellingham for the past year, I was surprised and saddened at the amount of homeless that reside here. Washington state desperately needs more housing and/or shelters to help slow this growing crisis. I truly hope that the federal funding for homeless services gets enough to even start a change in how we treat and help those in need. We can’t just keep ignoring the problem, we must take action as individuals and as a community.
Kate Padavich, Bellingham