Problems with the homeless in Federal Way

Thank you, Matthew Jarvis, for your letter (April 27), which expresses the truth far more eloquently than I would. Finally, I don’t feel so alone in my view of the homeless situation.

What “they” are doing IS against the law. “They” refers to the alcoholics and drug addicts who, for much of their lives, have declined the help available to them. They’ve chosen, instead, to steal for their existence, all the while destroying everything on their path to lawlessness.

Let me make it clear, I am not clumping all homeless people into one category. I’ve been told there are homeless families in Federal Way and they may not be the lawbreakers.

For many years I’ve lived with the hell of addiction in my family. It has destroyed our lives and our relationships. Throughout this nightmare, I have had the pleasure of meeting the bulk of the homeless population in Federal Way. They are, today, the same folks I tried to help 20-35 years ago. They are the people who choose not to avail themselves of the help available to them so they they can become law-abiding, sober citizens. They are the people who are stealing from others and leaving their offensive messes wherever they go in the beautiful city.

Those of you who want to give them housing, build tiny homes for them, continue to pay higher taxes to make sure they have shelter, food, medical care are, in my opinion on the wrong track. It may make you feel good, but it does nothing to solve this ever-expanding problem. Sure, we all want to help others, but you must draw the line somewhere. While you continue to give them everything, they’ll be forever mired in a life of addiction.

Instead, why don’t we put our resources, energy and talents into the root of the problem? Some need mental health care. Since the Reagan Administration, when mental health hospitals and facilities were defunded, there have been few places for these poor souls to go. Thus, it added to homelessness. We, as a nation, need to fix this. We ought to be ashamed!

Most are ill alcoholics and drug addicts who choose to stay that way, for whatever reason. We, as a society, need to find the key to changing their minds because these are the very people who are breaking our laws, destroying our property and stealing our treasures.

The Federal Way court along with other community partnerships has started a program which I hope will be the catalyst for change. The Community Court will have, on board, all resources to help the addicted person get on track to sobriety. Yes, it is hand-holding again, but sometimes that is what it takes. If the community services can provide immediate beds for those expressing an interest in treatment, we stand half a chance of helping them get there and out of our woods and away from squatting in our empty houses.

What we do now is get the police involved, the offender is arrested, ordered to court, ordered to pay a fine, which they will never pay and they go back to their filthy disease-breeding camps and their criminal behavior – over and over and over again. What have we gained?

The police are kept ever so busy attending to the problems the homeless have created and they arrest the same offenders again and again. It jades their outlook and results in bullying and false arrests.

Please don’t give money to all panhandlers. You can tell the difference between families and the alcoholics or drug addicts. The money you give them always buys alcohol (when they haven’t stolen a bottle from the market), or drugs from their pusher. They get enough food free and they steal everything else they need.

As Federal Way citizens, let’s collectively decide to tackle this problem in an intelligent manner. Let’s direct our attention to the root problem and insist that if the offenders want to continue their bad behavior instead of getting sober, then they are not welcome in our city. Give them a trespassing ticket and make their lives just as miserable as they have made ours. If trespassing from the city is lawful – go for it! Nothing else, so far, has worked.

A couple of years ago I suggested that Bob Roegner, the Mirror’s political columnist, invite the homeless to his home. Obviously, he has yet to do that and is still as uniformed as he was then. Was it Auburn’s homeless and drug problems that caused his move to Federal Way or does he just jump on everyone’s bandwagon to wage criticism of our mayor?

Strange, don’t you think, that the former mayor of one city would move up the hill to an adjoining city and criticize the mayor of his new digs? Why leave the city you were charged with?

None of us is, I would venture to say, without finding fault of those who run things. But, think about it – rarely an issue of the Mirror carries Roegner’s column that doesn’t find fault with Mayor Jim Ferrell. The mayor may give me hell for my words, but I’m going to have my say.

If you really believe he does a bad job, Bob Roegner, why don’t you invite him to coffee and give him the benefit of your brilliant brain? Duke it out or shut up.

The Jim Ferrell I know is an honest, law-abiding, loving, family man who does everything with love and respect in his heart. He would not speak badly of anyone (including you, Bob Roegner) if his life depended upon it. I know this because I have given him ample opportunity to do so.

So why don’t you, Bob Roegner, just stop your vendetta and move back to Auburn. They may welcome you with open arms. Federal Way – not so much. Some of us think it is time for you to move on.

Sheryl Nevers, Federal Way

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