Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Even with shelters, a concern for homeless

To the editor:

I can’t help but think about the people — some of whom I know personally — who are sleeping outside somewhere on these cold nights. And to rub salt in that already painful wound, they are not even “allowed” to be there.

Wherever the homeless go, if they are noticed, the police will come and “send them on their way,” as though we are all pretending they are just sleeping out there for fun, and that they have government-approved houses to go to.

It simply kills me to go for a walk out behind my home where there are still speculative housing developments with massive houses that are actually sitting empty, being heated so the pipes won’t freeze, with nobody in them, waiting for someone to buy them.

Meanwhile, in the same town, people we may know or see around town are at risk of freezing to death. This is deplorable beyond belief. It is surprising, and sad, that people are able to delude themselves that this capitalist system is working. People are told they don’t have a right to exist anywhere simply because they don’t have money.

This tragic local drama playing out in our own neighborhoods is but one example of how capitalism kills.

So how do we prevent someone from freezing to death right now, right here? We are capable of handling this. My suggestion: Open empty houses to the freezing homeless. Too far-fetched? OK, fine. At the very least, every church in town: leave your doors unlocked tonight. For God’s sake. People die from the cold, right here in the Happy Valley. We can do better as a community. If anyone has a better idea, please suggest it.

Sara Howard

Amherst

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