Don’t ignore the drug problem

Why not start with addressing the truth that homelessness is not a housing shortage or a mental health issue alone — it is a drug problem.

My mailing address is Auburn, but I live closer to Federal Way. Last year someone left a used needle in front of my house where I walk my dog. A shopping cart was left in my driveway another time. This past summer a homeless man urinated in the street in front of the mailboxes. E

very week when I am grocery shopping with my 4-month-old, I cross paths with drug addicts. I am routinely approached in parking lots by drug addicts asking for money. I routinely pass troubled individuals who are yelling at themselves and others who clearly suffer from mental illness compounded with drug addition. I have even had a homeless person spit on me. A few weeks ago there was a man masturbating outside of the hair salon I go to.

My husband and I are considering moving because of quality of life here. I know homeless is a complex situation with no easy answer. But why not start with addressing the truth that it is not a housing shortage alone, or a mental health issue alone, it is a drug problem.

There are people who refuse to go to shelters or get help due to their drug addiction. I have taught in the public school system and know there are families living out of hotel rooms or cars and they are struggling to find affordable housing and they are technically homeless. I am not referring to them. We need low-income subsided housing for those families. I am talking about the drug addicts who live in woods, who openly use drugs and loiter outside of businesses. For their sake and ours, please consider a radical change.

These repeat offenders need to be removed from the streets of society. They could be housed in a center and detoxed even if they do not want to be. I realize this is an extreme approach, but what else can we do? There is not the political will to be tough on drug offenses. The police have their hands tied. These people are free to litter, loiter and abuse drugs wherever they choose with no repercussions. The repeat offenders could be fingerprinted, transportation to a shelter would be provided to them, after they repeatedly return to the streets, they then could be taken to a drug rehab center where they would remain until they are deemed safe to return to society.

I recently read about a bill by Steve O’Ban addressing involuntary drug treatment for certain homeless people. That is a start. Hard-working, tax-paying citizens like myself shouldn’t have to live in fear of the homeless population.

I am begging that our elected leaders take the tough steps to clean up our communities. We must not pour money into housing for these particular homeless persons, while ignoring the drug problem.

Stephanie G