Letters to the Editor 9/27/23
Last updated 9/26/2023 at 9:47am
To the Editor:
Grace and Peace to you. I understand you are having a vicious time with this homeless condition. I want to tell you a little about my beliefs and experiences regarding the homeless. The cornerstone of my beliefs is based on unconditional love. The ones I want to speak up for are the women and children. I hear there are a dozen of them attending school in Sisters. Unconditional love dictates that you will help them and shelter them. Remember that they are just like you and just like me; we have to have three things a day. If one of these things are not obtained your day will become miserable quick.
1. Something to wear.
2. Someplace to sleep.
3. Something to eat.
What I want you to do is to go out and find these children at their camp in the woods and tell them to their face that you do not want them in town, you do not want them to have shelter in town, you do not want them to be safe. If you can do that then there is no unconditional love in your heart.
Speaking to the churches of this community. You have vans to pick people up. If the families are able to stay in the shelter then you can pick them up and take them to church. If you can do this know that they will feel absolutely safe in your sanctuary. They will feel safe and know comfort. Once they return to the world outside of the church then they are entering a place of fear based on danger. By giving them this small relief it can change their lives.
My experience in shelters for homeless people goes like this. After four children and 12 years of marriage, our marriage ended. I went in circles for the first five years, meaning everything was nothing. It would be another five years of crawling out of that abyss that I had fallen into. At the age of 42 I came in off the streets. After a year of being “clean” I studied to become a Christian counselor. After obtaining that certificate I began doing just that, two years at one shelter and three years at another. We were always eyeballs deep in the homeless and those with mental issues.
The truth of my experience is this, it takes a well-trained and experienced staff to help others. There will always be wolves among the sheep. Be vigilant, be aware, be ready to report suspicious activity and individuals to the authorities. Always look to deescalate and have safe boundaries. I remember sitting down with a woman who hadn’t been for medical care in a long time. It was only because she felt safe that she was able to take the next step and ask for help. I will always remember hearing her tell me and doctor about the abuse she suffered as a child. I believe that having unconditional love gives us the opportunity to help others, and in one moment, that love can change someone’s life.
To the Editor:
The recent behavior of my fellow citizens in opposition to the Cold Weather Shelter brought back some memories of Steinbeck novels depicting times when starving on the road and living in irrigation pipes was common. “She’s a nice country, but she was stole a long time ago.”
In the Depression it was Okies. Make them live in camps, starving. Angry mobs drive them out with guns and bats. Fear and hate. But for the grace of God go we.
“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” — Deut. 10:17-19
We are all family
To the Editor:
I have been reading all the commentary in The Nugget around the Sisters Cold Weather Shelter, and the houseless situation in general over the past several months. What strikes me about this dialog is how similar it is to our discussions around pretty much every contentious issue that has come before us in recent years.
The focus seems to be on our differences, with no attempt to find guiding principles that we can all agree on. It seems to me that if we could approach this, or any other difficult problem, from a point of agreement, we are more likely to produce viable solutions to the problems we face.
Concerning this issue, I suggest that the guiding principle be that the houseless are human beings and, as such, we are all family. I suggest that we hold true that all human beings have value, and that we are the same in that we experience joy and pain, and that we all struggle at times. I think we can all agree that when we struggle, help from those around us is invaluable, if not essential. If you were able to see this issue in this light, does it change how you feel about it?
We need to come together to solve this problem. If we approach this from an understanding of our common humanity, we are more likely to be led by love instead of by fear, which is the path required to build a better community.