Letters to the Editor

Social needs are greater

It hardly needs to be said that economic times are tough right now. Human services funding has been cut in virtually every service area of Federal Way (not to mention the huge cuts imposed by King County).

Meanwhile, Federal Way’s chief of police has said that her department knows of 15 encampments of homeless people within the boundaries of our city. When you consider how many heavily wooded areas the city contains, one must assume this count is incomplete. Now, camping out in the dry months of summer may not be entirely unpleasant. But when the rains come incessantly down and the days and nights are cold, how must it feel to be wet for weeks on end, even your bedding soaked because it lies flat on the ground? To get food, to go to the bathroom –– to do anything except to sit, hunkered down, in your makeshift blue-tarp shelter –– you have no choice but to go outside and get soaked again. And we aren’t talking only of derelict men here; there are families in these camps, as well.

They are there, and no resources are found for them because they have no power, and are for the most part disenfranchised. (You must have an address in order to be a registered voter.) Someone must speak up for them. Somehow the conscience of the majority of us who have all the things these least ones lack must be touched in their behalf. Somehow, their needs must come to be a priority for our city administration.

There are so many things we, as a city, would like to have to enhance our image to the world around us, to make the needed tasks of adminstration easier and more pleasant. Indeed, a new city hall and other oft-mentioned amenities would be lovely enhancements. But not now. This is a time –– an economic climate –– in which the only reasonable response is to dig in and make do.

Because I for one do not wish to hear anything more about immediate plans for a new city hall until the basic human needs of these fellow residents of our city, who have no words to speak for themselves, are being met.

Phyllis A. Dirks

Federal Way

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