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Provide shelter, not misery 

San Luis Obispo

  I’m writing regarding the article on the demolition of homeless campsites (“Merry Christmas,” Dec. 18). It’s upsetting to see how easily we can look past someone just because they don’t live according to our own standards. Where else can we expect these people to retreat? Our homeless shelters are overflowing and if we can’t provide a place for them to reside at night, can we really blame them for making the most out of what little they have? Ranger Service Supervisor Doug Carscaden complained about the need to “take care of the environment.” I understand and respect that he’s doing his job, and I realize the importance of caring for the world; but I also feel there’s a need to take care of the people in our community first. Since when did a tiny fraction of land become more valuable than a human life?!  I don’t understand. What are we really trying to accomplish here? These aren’t just campsites being destroyed; they are the livelihoods of the people living there. Homelessness is not something we can pretend doesn’t exist. We can’t just destroy their homes and think that will solve all our problems. Carscaden even admits, “…we just move them from spot to spot.” Obviously, homelessness isn’t going away anytime soon. Instead of finding ways to make their lives more miserable by instituting ridiculous laws against them or replacing bus-stop benches to prevent them from lying down, we should instead focus on understanding their situations and finding a solution to help them.  

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