[Pueblo] Councilwoman Lori Winner states that “They” (she calls the homeless population bums) “don’t have any interest, really, in going to a shelter because at a shelter they can’t drink and they can’t shoot heroin, they’re going to have to shower.” (“Pueblo charity to homeless: Stay out,” News, Dec. 27) Her judgment is people without shelter create their own conditions. She shows no understanding, whatsoever, of the causes and effects of D.C. policies that have forced millions to live outside even in sub-zero weather.
On Aug. 13, 1981, Reagan stopped federal funding for institutionalized mentally ill. A hundred thousand Americans had to navigate state services and administer personal meds on their own. Like a third of homeless, mentally ill today, they too ended up in the streets.
Then, technicians, nurses, mechanics — workers who had steady, career employment with sick leave, paid vacations, health insurance and tax withholdings — were told they were now “contract” workers, subject to short-term assignments that may or may not be renewed.
Some found one or two part-time, minimum-wage positions in order to get 50 percent of their total earnings to pay the rent. Others ended up in alleys since federal, low-cost housing had waitlists of up to 10 years. And, cutbacks meant few, if any, new housing developments.
Likewise, Trump aims to slash the HUD budget even more, likely reducing vouchers, which creates greater numbers of homeless. So, Councilwoman Winner will be seeing more and more and more “bum camps”!
— Kayla Dakota, Pueblo
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