Letters to the Editor

Puyallup: Don't stoke fear of homeless neighbors

Re: “Puyallup not averse to homeless, as critics say,” (TNT local viewpoint, 3/5).

City Council member Jim Kastama gave this take on Puyallup, a place, by his account, of wide lawns and narrow minds, where some homeless fit the city’s image and the others must go.

Against that view, volunteers at Puyallup’s New Hope center simply help the homeless as they come. New Hope provides guests with bathrooms to avoid the indignity of relieving themselves outside and laundry services so they can mix with the rest of us.

It helps with job applications and searches for housing so that they might no longer be homeless.

Kastama mongers fear in warnings about “drugs, crime, prostitution, feces,” but all New Hope guests must pass a criminal background check. (One of the regular volunteers is a former police chief.)

The irony is that New Hope alleviates the problems that Kastama identifies, but he would rather fear the homeless than help them up.

In the Gospel of Luke, the rich man merely ignored the homeless Lazarus. Kastama has gone further and slandered the poor man. Puyallup is better than that.