Letters to the Editor

Homeless: Bigger than a Tacoma emergency

Re: “Council extends camping ban, approves $1.9 million more for tent city amid homelessness crisis,” (TNT, 12/14).

As the lead for the medical team at the tent city, it has been a pleasure to serve with outstanding partners in Tacoma.

The Medical Reserve Corps has worked closely with the city, Nativity House, Salvation Army, Tacoma Rescue Mission, Comprehensive Life Resources, and many others to establish a community of caring providers.

As a collective, we identify, then creatively brainstorm, to fill the needs of those who are experiencing homelessness.

But we are only patching the lives of those already affected by lack of housing, a condition that can befall any of us, but for the grace of god.

We need to consider the long-term effects of being unsheltered. Increased use of emergency services, and a sense of decreased public safety, contribute to higher costs for all of us.

And because the City of Tacoma is addressing the issue, folks from nearby areas are coming in, adding to the burden. This is bigger than a Tacoma emergency.

We need a multi-pronged, long-term, countywide approach. Prevention is the best medicine.