Letters to the Editor

Churches: An answer to homelessness in our midst

Re: “Tacoma can learn from Notre Dame,” (TNT, 4/18).

The News Tribune Editorial Board encourages us to maintain sacred spaces. I agree that many lovely spaces, including Holy Rosary Catholic church, fill our desires for beauty and spiritual uplift.

We also must recognize competing societal issues regarding use of buildings. The needs of our unhoused neighbors demand solutions.

Rents are unaffordable for many. Recent Pierce County statistics show an adult must work 78 hours per week at minimum wage to afford even a one-bedroom apartment in our city, while still providing other essentials for his/her family.

Lovely as these churches are, they are spaces that are greatly underutilized in meeting human needs, often standing empty for most of the week. Many are adjacent to tents and sleeping bags in which individuals try to survive weather and personal danger.

Some church communities are making heroic efforts to help those who live outside. But I encourage all of us, including local churches, to weigh competing concerns and to meet Tacoma’s tremendous issues by looking creatively at the spaces we have available or creating new ones.

Perhaps there are ways that sacred spaces and spaces focused on the immediate needs of people can coexist.

Bill Hagens, Tacoma