Steps to provide for homeless timely, necessary

We see them nearly every day, though sometimes they aren’t very obvious – our local homeless population.

Some stand out, walking the streets, panhandling, hanging out at favorite spots around town. Others are a lot less noticeable, or way under the radar.

Homelessness is a problem in Sweet Home – no ifs or buts about it. We have one of the highest homelessness rates in our school district in the state, we’re told.

Acknowledging it is a baby step. The hard part is coming up with solutions.

That’s why the effort instigated by Henry Wolthuis and other local leaders, reported on page 5, should interest – and hopefully engage – us all. They intend to come to grips with this problem and find ways to address it here in Sweet Home.

We like their ideas, particularly their stated emphasis on providing basic necessities with the intent of encouraging people to get back on their feet. We recognize that many of the homeless have experienced some bad turns – financial, health, societal, legal, etc. Though there are some who prefer the homeless life, we suspect they are the minority.

The fact is, if our community can provide avenues for those in hard times to pull themselves up by their bootstraps through programs or otherwise, we’re all winners. A lack of productivity is not good for anyone – the individuals in question or the society around them.

We agree that there is a need for facilities that would provide the homeless the ability to take care of their basic needs. That’s one step. Things get more complicated when we start talking about providing housing and helping needy people toward gainful living, but why not?

Those are the real needs and they are what Wolthuis’ committee plans to address. They’re looking for answers and anyone with expertise – personal or professional experience or simply ideas worth discussing –should jump on board.