Questions to ponder regarding homelessness

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Editor, News-Herald:

I just want to thank God we are in Suffolk instead of some other city. Seems to me that the Suffolk &uot;Homeless&uot; Shelter needs a lesson in compassion and what homelessness is.

It seems that the truth is starting to come out. They seem to have one rule everyone is starting to learn. That is no matter what they are going to close for the holidays.

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Why do they get away with it? I’ve heard people say. Others say because they are private that they can do as they want, close or open when they want and no one can do anything about it.

Is it to the point that because they are private they get to have what so many people can’t have and that’s the day off every holiday? When it happened to us on Thanksgiving many people stepped forward and said they would gladly volunteer to stay with the tenants in the shelter if they had nowhere to go just so it would stay open. Seems the tenants have no choice.

I myself had to work Thanksgiving. How many other people in Suffolk have to work the holidays? Why are the staff memebers of a &uot;homeless&uot; shelter more special than anyone else?

Seems the bad press or talk Social Services may have gotten in the past was just that, bad talk. They seem to be stepping up to the plate and helping. I wonder if the shelter is going to be closed on New Year’s also and if Social Services and the city will have to put the people in a hotel then? Also on Valentines day? Easter and every other holiday?

Is this what we are going to expect from the shelter every holiday? If so maybe we need to look into opening a different shelter that is truly for the homeless and does open for the holidays for those that are homeless.

This is not to tear anyone down, just a few comments to get us thinking here. Seems there are more needs than this shelter can meet. For one, let’s face it, homelessness is not just going to go away. So we as the city of Suffolk and the commonwealth of Virginia need to look at it again and see what we do about it.

Holly Parker