Homes, not shelter beds, are what’s needed

Posted Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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In reference to the Thursday editorial “Families need mission’s new shelter plan,” here are some quotes from a report called “The Cost of Homelessness in Tarrant County, Texas Fiscal Year 2007,” prepared by the city of Fort Worth’s Planning and Development Department in spring 2008:

• “Shelters do not end homelessness.”

• “Concentrations of shelters hinders development and reinvestment in the neighborhoods and surrounding areas.”

• “Emergency shelter is the greatest cost to agencies who spend resources on the homeless.”

• “Only managing the homeless vs. ending the homelessness.”

The report was part of Directions Home, 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness in Fort Worth.

Think what $10 million spent on a high-rise warehouse for women/children (who are kicked out during the day) would have purchased in small permanent housing scattered throughout the community.

— W. Douglas Henderson, Flower Mound

The east side neighborhoods of Fort Worth are over-saturated with homeless people due to every surrounding city bringing their homeless to Fort Worth.

We cannot continue to allow this. Our tax dollars are being drained caring for the surrounding cities’ homeless, and our neighborhoods are paying dearly.

Some of the surrounding cities that drop off their homeless aren’t even in Tarrant County. The cost to the Fort Worth taxpayers is of no concern for these cities because once the homeless are dropped off in our neighborhoods the problem is no longer theirs or a cost to them.

If every apartment complex and every church in Fort Worth were to house or adopt one person or one family, we could end homelessness in our city.

But instead, we continue to do the same old thing and expect different results. The burden that this issue has placed on our east side neighborhoods is of no concern to anyone as long as it isn’t in their neighborhood.

— Mike Phipps, Fort Worth

Your editorial painted those of us who spoke out as being negative or insensitive to the issue of homelessness, which is not the message that we took to the mayor and City Council. Rather, it was the opposite.

One area of the city cannot take on such a huge problem, and it is time that other cities in Tarrant County began taking responsibility for their homeless and surrounding counties start creating plans of their own so that we can begin to reverse the trend that has plagued our precious east side neighborhoods.

We have suffered long enough, and it’s time we on the east side start speaking out.

It appears that we will agree to disagree on this subject until every council district in the city takes on its share of the problem. This isn’t a District 8 problem or an east side problem, it is a citywide, countywide, statewide problem, and we must treat it as such.

— Eddie Sakerka, Fort Worth

What Fort Worth needs is a large building on East Lancaster Avenue near the homeless shelters where people down on their luck could be trained for low-income jobs (paying enough to keep them fed and a roof over their heads and those of their children).

You read almost daily about some fancy new museum or similar edifice being built and the names of wealthy men being put on them.

Hey, guys, step out of the safe zone and put your names on something that would help people.

Long ago the Rockefellers, Carnegies and others did this — and I’m sure they felt good about it in the long run!

Giving people food, shelter, toys and money at Christmastime just doesn’t hack it.

— Mike McDonald, Fort Worth

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