Monday, August 18, 2008

Letter to the Editor - Creative Loafing

Published August, 2008
Creative Loafing

Letter to the Editor at Creative Loafing

Stop caricaturing the homeless

When are you going to do a real story on homelessness and poverty rather than half-baked articles about the city criminalizing the actions of desperate people ("Fewer homeless in the city," News & Views, Aug. 6)?

My friends and I serve free food in Woodruff Park. Yet, are you aware that the city has brutally cracked down on groups like ours, which are merely exercising the ACLU-supported right to share a basic need with friends? And by the way, the homeless people we encounter are usually lovely, humble people.

Homelessness and persistent poverty is largely due to a dearth of affordable housing and jobs, cyclical poverty, institutionalized racism and mental health issues. Indeed, mental health funding is severely slashed, dumping the mentally ill on the streets.

As we watch Atlanta become ever more gentrified and as more jobs are shipped overseas or just disappear altogether, you will see the swelling of the homeless and poor ranks – it's already happening.

The Gateway Center is hardly the panacea. Our oppressive economic system is the core of the problem.

Please stop crassly caricaturing the homeless and poor. Any of us could be in that boat, and really, you should know better. I continue to be outraged at your "coverage" of these issues.

– Alison Ross, Atlanta

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