Letter to the Editor: Local resources stretched thin
I just finished reading the Editorial on Occupy Olympia in Issue #61. Recognizing that the article is biased to the points the author Marissa Luck wished to make, I still feel compelled to comment on what I would consider a misleading article.
Why are Occupiers assumed to be homeless? That was never a tenant of the movement. The governor was addressing the homeless people who piggy backed on to the movement to shift their camps from the woods or doorways to the park.
There were some who claimed to be Occupiers and came from another location instead of remaining on their home turf and participating in the the movement there. They chose – and I emphasize CHOSE – to come to Olympia without resources to sustain themselves. Why does the need to provide for their sustenance fall on the government or the residents of Olympia?
Ms Luck did not bother to do any checking as to what resources Olympia had for homeless people. If she had, she would have realized that those resources were stretched seeing to the needs of the homeless currently in Olympia and certainly were not in a position to surge to a sudden influx of people.
Finally, what’s the purpose of the article? To show that the government was not sympathetic to the movement? If that was the point, why not stick it?
Instead of trying to sling mud, Ms Luck could have used this space to lay the foundation of why Occupiers were growing sympathetic to the plight of the homeless and intended to do something about it by adding this mission to their cause. And she could have done it in such a way as to enlist the help of people who were not initially sympathetic to their cause. It sounds like she doesn’t like those unsympathetic to the cause and all she’s really accomplished is to reenforce the opinion of those who were not interested in the Occupiers to begin with.
- Tim Langan, Chaplain,
Olympia Union Gospel Mission
Editors’ reply: As Ms. Luck pointed out, homeless people moved into Occupy Olympia because it was safer there than in the woods where many of the homeless had been staying (and are now staying again). Besides, why can’t homeless people be protesters too? We completely agree that local homeless shelters are full, and their resources are stretched, including at the OUGM. To us, the purpose of that article (not editorial) was to show the difference between what some government officials were saying they were doing to help the homeless at Occupy Olympia and what they were actually (not) doing. Occupy Olympia is indeed adding homeless to their mission; see our editorial to the left for a discussion of one of their efforts. Also, every survey of homeless people we’ve ever seen says that they are no more or less likely than anyone else to be from out of town. Finally, we believe one key way to prompt the community to address homelessness is to keep homeless people within the awareness of the community; some people will never be sympathetic about homelessness, but frankly we don’t want those people to get comfortably apathetic.
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