Don’t forget that homeless are residents, too

A letter published by The Maui News on June 2 found its way into my “are you kidding me?” file.

The letter writer is concerned about the homeless on Maui. She is not concerned about their health or welfare. She is concerned that they are unhealthy and in her line of sight. She is concerned about the appearance of her neighborhood as a “dumping ground.” She is concerned that homeless residents are thieves who touch things in stores where she shops. She is concerned that they present a risk to the health and safety of visitors, renters and homeowners.

I wish to remind everyone that these homeless are residents, too. They are not all thieves, any more than people who have a roof are. They get hungry and need to eat, just like the rest of us. Some are emotionally or mentally challenged, just like the rest of us.

Notify store managers of anyone, whether they have open sores or not, whether they are dirty or not, who dips their hand into food that is open serve.

The letter writer has presented a problem to officials. She has stated the problem. But what might be the solution? Where should homeless people go? Where should they sleep, eat, wash?

I challenge everyone to help find the solution. After all, there but for the grace of God go you. I challenge all to accept the premise that being poor is not illegal, nor should it be.

Heather Loughridge-Buono