Letters to the Editor Dec. 11, 2012

By Submitted December 12, 2012 04:40 pm

Homeless shelter concept

The days of near-freezing weather, in addition to our famous rains, are soon to arrive. Sadly, and as it has always been, Crescent City and Del Norte County by and large lack emergency homeless shelters.

There are legal issues this city and county presently face anyway — over a fairly institionalized callousness that strongly works against the homeless. Many good folks and entities have tried to serve our homeless, but have, especially with respect to being able to provide consistent and well-run basic shelter, failed for one reason or another.

Yes, some groups give out food rations. Yes, vouchers for hotel stays are offered on occasion.

But these present as a whole, a very difficult and scattered approach, for a homeless person on foot, to manage. A thought occurred to me: Perhaps it is time for the wealthiest commercial businesses to partner up with the folks who’ve always tried so hard to provide shelter to the homeless, but for one reason or another, have yet to do what they dream of, having a permanent shelter with permanent funding.

Perhaps for a part of funding, such a shelter could be extended (in part) to temporary visiting persons, like a hostel in a sense. Such people as young bons vivants, sports fishermen, or visiting hunters, during the far less bleak months we all enjoy in late fall and summer, would help pay for its ongoing costs.

Surely the county has spare land(s) it could donate? In other months, especially the colder and bleaker times here, it can revert back from hostel-like functioning to mainly being used to house the homeless, of course with strict rules for being allowed the privilege of a warm place and a chance to shower, do laundry, so forth.

Wow: What if local businesses donated building materials plus perhaps skilled workers, and bankrolled much of it initially? Advice from the city’s architects as well as input from long-suffering charitable groups here likely would result in a locale and plan for construction.

I leave with this thought: it merely takes loss of income or an injury to become homeless. Making this place nigh-near impossible for the homeless to simply exist, many who are just good folks down on their luck, but, even ones who abuse substances and could use a hand — we can do better and should.

Hilary John Herman, Crescent City

Gender treatment unequal 

Who else has noticed, as I have for several years, that women going into the Social Security Office are asked by the security guard to open their purses, with which women comply, and watch the security guards search all compartments of their purse?

However, when men go into the Social Security Office, they are asked if they have any guns, knives, mace or weapons, to which they respond, “No.” The men are not carrying purses. The security guard lets them pass.

The men come into the Social Security Office searing bulky jackets, baggy pants and layers of clothing. The security guard does not ask them to open their jackets, turn their pockets inside out, remove their hats, show what is attached to their belts or stuffed into their boots. “No” is good for a man.

Once, a Social Security Office guard asked to see what was inside a zippered compartment of my purse after he examined the rest. I asked, “You want to see my feminine hygiene items?” to which he responded, “I’m a married man.” To which I responded, “I am not your wife.”

Of course, I get it! Safety first for government employees as there is a rising agitation and anger about how the federal government handles or mishandles matters of money and often has misinformed or under-trained government clerks of any division. Whatever it takes for safety should apply to men as well. Men have a higher rate of violent acts against other persons.

Today, a man was cleared on his word and later left the Social Security Office and returned shortly. He was not questioned again or searched. There have been several different security guards. Their training is the same.

Who can adequately explain this safety inconsistency to us?

M.J. Berry, Crescent City