Some people see homeless encampments as places where folks experiencing a little bad luck merrily congregate while roasting hot dogs ‘round the campfire. Wrong.
Open-air drug markets, the term used now in many parts of the world, is a much better description of reality. It is used to precisely describe what is often the root cause of the increasingly visible homeless population that has become commonplace in Anchorage and through out the country.
Until it is realized that homelessness is usually a function of substance abuse and often mental health issues, rather than the primary problem, additional shelters will do little to effect any meaningful long-term solutions. Shelters, while helpful, will need to be integrated into a comprehensive substance abuse program if any real lasting reduction in homelessness is to be achieved.
— Eric Love
Have something on your mind? Send to email@example.com or click here to submit via any web browser. Letters under 200 words have the best chance of being published. Writers should disclose any personal or professional connections with the subjects of their letters. Letters are edited for accuracy, clarity and length.