Letters to the Editor: Why Karen Bass and Rick Caruso both give reason to hope on homelessness issues
Wednesday is the annual Homeless Count in Washington, and while it’s always a sad and disappointing event, I was struck this year by the number of people who, after living on the streets for at least a year, are still living on the streets.
Including homeless in the count is a very significant increase. This year, I was told that 6,800 people were homeless on the streets. That’s nearly three times the number from last year. This is also nearly four times the number that was homeless just two years ago.
What’s the reason behind this? Because of the economic crisis. I wrote about it in The Washington Times a few years back and it is still happening. What makes it especially tough for families is that the cost of living today is more than double what it was when I was growing up. And for the first time, the cost of food is going up. The cost of housing is also on the rise. And many more of my friends in the inner cities have added on the cost of housing because they can’t find affordable housing.
I remember when the price of gasoline was at $2.00 a gallon and you could get a ticket for driving on I-83 in Michigan. Now, you can drive for miles and miles to get to work and the quality of the gas stations has gone down and they have lowered the price of gas.
I remember when the price of a gallon of milk was $1.50. Now, you can go to 7-11 for a gallon of milk. And where is all that money going? To the manufacturers of baby formula, which costs $100 for 3-4 packages.
This is not just an economic problem. It is also a social and psychological problem. The human emotions that are stirred up by the loss of a job, losing a good one, and seeing people on the streets, are not healthy human emotions.
While we need to address the economic factors, we also need to address the people who are sleeping in the streets.
Karen Bass and Rick Caruso in their letter have given me the best reason to hope that, this year, we can get an increase in the number of people who are sleeping in