Letter: Treatment of addicts, homeless shameful

Editor,

The treatment of the homeless and addicts of Whidbey Island is embarrassing and shows just how incompetent our local leaders are.

It’s dysfunctional to use an overly general term “homeless” to solve a complex problem that involves many different types of people in many different types of situations. Drug addiction, mental health, unsupportive parents, sudden lost job, no viable job skills, job skills don’t match the area, priced out of housing, came to Whidbey Island due to reputation of being soft on drugs and homelessness, etc.

Each aspect requires a different solution.

This is an important part of the problem. It’s hard to make progress on a problem if people paint it with an overly broad brush or don’t have the basic terminology to clearly communicate what aspect of the problem they’re discussing.

This is a real lack of leadership. A competent leader would at least be able to appropriately define the problems so as to invite constructive dialog on how to solve them but for some reason the councils all across this Island seem to be run by people who I don’t really believe have ever personally struggled with addiction or homelessness?

Helping these people isn’t giving them a bed and some “words-of-encouragement” from a social worker. If you’ve ever been addicted or known anyone who’s been prison to their mind then you would know that there are those who would chose death over being clean.

It’s hard to get clean and stay that way. This just seems like a passion project by someone who wants to pat themselves on the back for being a “morally good person”.

You can’t force people to change their life and I just find it laughable that a bunch of upper-middle class/wealthy people living in their little bubble think that Whidbey Island is a place that can give the homeless the resources needed for a true, long-lasting recovery.

I work for the hospital and we have negative cash on hand; our hospital can’t give these people the help they need. There are barely any job opportunities for the working class families who’ve been here generations. Where do you expect these people to work once they reach sobriety?

Recovery is a process that can take a lifetime and relapses are bound to happen, especially if life starts working against you and you can’t find a job, home, etc … It’s near impossible for anyone to “get back up on their feet” in an area that can’t provide the amenities a city like Seattle can.

Honestly Seattle can’t even handle its own homeless population, what makes you think Whidbey would do better? Unfortunately, this won’t matter until they start moving into the backyards of our local leaders or until someone they care about is negatively impacted by it.

Caring about the homeless? Don’t make me laugh. These are the same people that quickly lock their car doors when stopped next to the people begging outside the grocery store parking lot.

There are bigger problems on the island, such as rapid Navy expansion, the destruction of our forests and beaches to build more million dollar or “affordable” homes, recent transplants who have no respect for the history and culture of the island and entitled residents who believe that the beaches should be private.

The character of the island is not the same. The people who move up here to “get away from the city” are the first to complain about the deer population and beg for a super Walmart, Target or another Starbucks to be built.

This place is slowly becoming Lynnwood, but for some reason that seems to be what the new influx of people here want.

Annie Hasanbi

Oak Harbor

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