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Tarrant and Parker counties have seen a slight decrease in the overall homeless population over the past several years. Photo by Lee Chastain.

New Directions Home?

I appreciate “Finding a Direction,” the Weekly’s November 29 cover story highlighting the status of Fort Worth’s Directions Home plan. As part of the team that evaluated Directions Home programs from their implementation in 2009 until last year, I am very committed to seeing this plan succeed.

While a number of items in the article caught my attention, Mr. Boren’s comment about the best approach to dealing with people experiencing chronic homelessness made my heart sink. While I respect Mr. Boren’s commitment to fighting homelessness, to characterize chronically homeless individuals as never being a “productive part of modern society” is shortsighted and perpetuates negative stereotypes. I also object to the idea that people who are experiencing homelessness need to be “managed,” an approach that only further dehumanizes a group of people who are already marginalized in mainstream society.

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I understand Mr. Boren’s perspective, but as a social worker who has served people experiencing homelessness for nearly two decades, my experience (and research) confirms that homelessness can often be traced to larger failures in our education, housing, criminal justice, healthcare, social service, and military systems. Most people experiencing homelessness want to and, with safe and stable housing and support, can find their place in our community. If we believe otherwise, what kind of “home” are we really providing? A place to contain them so we can all see the numbers drop and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done?

I think Directions Home is better than that.

James Petrovich

Fort Worth

It’s Texans, Plain and Simple

In response to “Tarrant County Freeze Out” (Nov 15), the federal government is in charge of immigration. Taking local taxpayer dollars for this federal responsibility is overstepping. It also reduces the effectiveness of local law enforcement. More of the people stealing, killing, robbing, hijacking, and raping are just plain old Texans. That’s right. They are citizens here, born and raised here. Immigration in the United States has been declining year after year for a while now. Do you blame them? Once they all go away, we will realize what they actually brought us, a better economy by increasing the number of people who buy goods and services, thereby spending money to shore up the economy, cheap housekeeping and janitorial services for citizens who wouldn’t do those jobs anyway, and cheaper housing because most native Texans would not frame out a house in any weather, let alone in 90-to-100-degree heat. As we run them out, they will want less and less to come back and help us out, so we will be stuck having to do harder physical labor, pay more for housing, and do our own cleaning. There is no sign that the billionaires running this country right now have any desire to help us out. If you have an inordinate sense of fear of immigrants, maybe you should ask yourself where that came from. If one immigrant kills someone, everyone is up in arms. If 2,000 white males kill, rape, and pillage, no one around here gives it a second thought. It is just how our country is.

Alice Rice

(Online comment)

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