Homeless people aren't always drunks

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, July 17, 2006

Susan Lebeau's letter of July 14 made some valid points but I must take exception to her using the term "homeless" in reference to obvious drunks. I have been homeless in the past and I have never done any of the vile things she mentions, least of all drinking alcohol or relieving my bodily functions in a public area. To refer to the problem she mentions as one of homelessness is prejudicial and wrong.

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It's like referring to terrorism as an Islamic problem. Not all homeless peoples are vagrants any more than all terrorists are Islamic. Some are just struggling against difficult situations. My daughter and I have been homeless on several occasions, while I struggled with the foibles of single motherhood. We have always treated property and people with respect, and I resent being lumped with dissolute and desperate folk, who have no hope but the bottom of a bottle.

The stigma of homelessness is inappropriate. It makes it more difficult for folk like me to find a landlord who is willing to rent to us, because they hear the word "homeless" and imagine in their minds the drunks that many refer to as "the homeless." Many of us will find ourselves homeless at one time or another, not necessarily permanently homeless, and that status needs to be treated as any status does - individually. Kindly refrain from lumping us all together into a disgusting image. Thank you very much.

Rayda L. Renshaw

Juneau



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