Steve Chittock

Ignoring homeless would only make problem worse

On behalf of our needy neighbors here in Del Norte County, I want to express thanks to all those who lent a helping hand and opened their hearts to partner with us at Our Daily Bread Ministries emergency shelter at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds.

With your help in these difficult financial times, we were able to provide 1,300 nights of lodging, 3,800 meals and other vital services to our homeless and needy neighbors.

In regards to the Jan. 15 letter ("Enraged with the multitudes of homeless all around town"), the writer is entitled to his views, though some of them are misinformed. I appreciate this letter because it brings up a few important issues that need to be set straight.

Those who are severely addicted to drugs and alcohol cannot simply quit their habits. Addiction enslaves and damages a person physically, mentally and spiritually. Many are raised in this lifestyle from a young age; it is deeply ingrained in their earliest memories. It is the only life they have ever known.

Many do try to rise above their addictions. As a minister of the gospel, I've seen firsthand the despair and frustration of those who have attempted to overcome their addictions, only to fail again and again. Are these people accountable and responsible for their actions? Yes, by all means. Those who are drowning, swirling downward to destruction, however, need a life ring. Will some be lost? Yes. Others are saved and are grateful. I was saved. I am grateful to God for those who reached down to help.

Are the homeless addicts? Some are. Others are our sons and daughters who can't find a job in our sickly economy. Some of them have become depressed and picked up the bottle. Others are families like the single father with three young children that we fed recently at Our Daily Bread Ministries.

I fail to see how cutting off all aid will assist someone in finding a place to live. Finding a home and a job without an address, a shower, and a place to sleep is virtually impossible. Without any help, a temporarily homeless person gives into despair and becomes chronically homeless. At this point, drugs and alcohol are a quick escape. Panhandling, loitering and public intoxication will abound.

Tom Pawloski

Crescent City