Let’s help homeless, respect rights of all

Let’s help homeless, respect rights of all

Letter to the Editor:

Let’s do more to help the homeless people of Wooster. Let’s find a way to listen to them and help those who are asking for help to move forward and progress with their lives. This is vital to our progress as a caring city as well.

At the same time, let’s continue to respect each other as neighbors and let’s be clear about the details of the problems we face downtown.

The overnight curfew on the square was not designed as a way to deny homeless people shelter from the elements, and in reality, very, very few homeless people are affected by this measure. At the moment, only one quiet, polite individual regularly sleeps there overnight. Surely someone in the city’s social services agencies can focus their attention on helping this one person find a more comfortable living environment.

The overnight curfew happened because in recent weeks a small group of about a dozen people — many of whom are not homeless and live in homes nearby — were abusive, aggressive, loud, threatening, insulting, fighting and using drugs openly, all night long. This is well documented on video because the square has 24/7 video monitoring, and signs are posted to alert all to this.

With the exception of drug use, these are mostly misdemeanor offenses, and without a curfew in place, there is no legal way to prevent the abuse of these individuals toward each other and toward their downtown neighbors attempting to sleep. If this had happened once or twice, a curfew would have been an excessive reaction, but as an ongoing event, night after night after night, it required a response to respect everyone’s basic right to a peaceful night’s sleep.

Now the square is quieter in the middle of the night. Now let’s do more to help homeless individuals who want and need help — day or night. They deserve attention and consideration.

And at the same time, may we please remember to respect the rights of all those who live downtown — both those who are experiencing homelessness and those who are homed.

With grateful appreciation,

Carolyn Robinson


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