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Reader: More housing won't clear homeless camps

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Recently, your newspaper quoted state ACLU legal director, Mark Silverstein, as saying that people are sleeping outside because they can't get housing ("Water worries," June 13). I am very surprised that someone that supposedly understands the "homeless" issue can oversimplify such a complex issue. Yes, there is a subset of unfortunate people that find themselves in a difficult situation and need our assistance. On the other hand, there's also another large subset of "homeless" who do not want housing, but instead want to live outdoors and live the "nomadic" lifestyle with no responsibilities. If Mr. Silverstein talked to these nomads, he would quickly realize this is their desired lifestyle and they prefer it. They do not want permanent housing. They prefer to illegally camp, set fires, defecate, urinate and trash our streets, parks and waterways. Most of this group are able-bodied men who unfortunately take away limited resources from the very needy. You can build all the housing you want, but there will always be this vagrant subset destroying our community and living on the streets and in our parks. Call me heartless, but these are the facts.

— John Cameron

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