Letters to the Editor

Two different reactions to the letter regarding the Redmond ‘man on the corner’ | Letters to the Editor

It is so sad to hear of Dennis’ story (Reporter Nov. 9) and the many other similar stories from veterans. You will be glad to know that Imagine Housing, a nonprofit on the Eastside has seen the need and is making a difference by providing affordable housing specifically for veterans in areas near employment, transportation and services.

Andrew’s Glen and Francis Village both offer housing specifically dedicated to formerly homeless veterans. Half of the units at Andrew’s Glen are dedicated to veterans. On-site case management is available for every resident, and 100 percent of the veterans at Andrew’s Glen are utilizing the support to develop personal and financial goals, attain needed medical benefits, find employment and develop skills and tolls that will help them develop long-term stability and self-sufficiency.

The generosity of local community groups and churches has also made it possible to offer additional support to our veterans in the form of transportation, laundry funds, utilities and specialized classes.

Imagine Housing focuses on quality affordable housing, providing multi-family housing for veterans, families, single-parent families, individuals and seniors.

I have personally volunteered with Imagine for over 20 years and will continue to do so, as Imagine provides a home for so many people who could not begin to work in the areas that they live.

Thank you for sharing Dennis’ story. Housing is a basic fundamental need for everyone and our community will be better and stronger when we make affordable housing a priority.

Clare Moe, Redmond

• I found the letter about the panhandler not at all credible (Reporter Nov. 9).

Dennis’ story does not add up. Dennis claimed to have been stationed in North Korea. North Korea has suffered under a totalitarian communist dictatorship for the last 60 years. We have no troops there. He claims that it’s harder living on the streets than being in combat. In combat, there are no free shelters, soup kitchens, food stamps, welfare, veterans benefits or other social services. There are no people driving by in their cars throwing coins or food at you. I’m certain that people yelling obscenities are preferable to bullets being shot at you or seeing your buddies maimed and killed, or the prospect of a sudden violent wounding or death.

Panhandlers survive by manipulating our tendency to be compassionate. Hard luck stories about worthy combat veterans fallen on hard times are particularly compelling. That is why you will see many male panhandlers claiming veteran status Most of them (panhandlers, not veterans), are un-employable due to substance abuse problems and/or mental health issues. It is hard to help those with problems such as these without enabling their substance abuse.

Certainly, just giving money out is not the solution. There are always jobs at the low end of the employment scale, but panhandling is much more lucrative than the $9-an-hour minimum wage, and panhandling affords the flexible hours and avoidance of sober responsibility that employment does not.

I’m offended that panhandlers will try to assume the unearned mantle of respect due our veterans in order to cage money from our more easily beguiled citizens. I spent 20 years serving in our military, it was a privilege and I would never use my service to cajole money from people.

I had some periods of homelessness, but never found it necessary to rely on others, as honest work is always available to those who are responsible, reliable, honest, sober and willing to work rather than standing on the corner asking for handouts.

Brian Trubee, USAF Pararescue (Ret.), Redmond


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