Forum editorial: Homeless objections get sillier
Some of the nonsensical rhetoric directed against the proposed Churches United for the Homeless supportive housing in Moorhead cannot go unchallenged. Reasonable, thoughtful people in Moorhead must be shaking their heads in embarrassment at the vitriol masquerading as concern that is emanating from a few residents of a nearby neighborhood.
First, the phony alcohol abuse concern. Simply because there are a few liquor stores and bars not far from the proposed building, some neighborhood objectors suggest people who benefit from the building (that is, they no longer would be homeless) would readily join the ranks of street drunks and drunken vandals. There is no credible evidence to come to such a conclusion.
The complainers might take time to examine police reports – specifically domestic disturbance calls – that reveal police are involved in alcohol-lubricated incidents in the “best” neighborhoods in Moorhead (and Fargo). They would find that booze is involved in brawls, spousal abuse and other disturbances at apartment buildings that have nothing to do with the homeless population.
Regarding mental illness: There is no doubt that mental illnesses occur among homeless people more frequently than in the general population. That’s precisely the point of providing a residence that includes targeted services. Helping people manage mental illness is a far better option than forcing them into shelters or onto the street, where the worst symptoms of untreated mental illness surely will play out.
A good exercise for project protesters would be to go up and down the streets of their idyllic neighborhood, knock on doors to ascertain which of their neighbors suffer from mental illnesses, and which of their neighbors are alcoholics or drug abusers. They could compile a comprehensive assessment that could be the basis by which they could know the risk they live with every day.
Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.