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Letter: Homelessness is complex, there is simply no quick fix

Homelessness is complex, there is simply no quick fix

I am writing in response to the My View, “We need to do more to help the homeless.” The writer is right. As a society, we need to do more. And often, bureaucracy and lack of coordination slow the process. But an even greater hindrance is the extreme complexity of the issue.

The only thing that the writer, or any other witness to the 41-year-old man sleeping every morning on a bench, sees is that he is a 41-year-old man sleeping on a bench. We are seeing the tip of the iceberg. We have absolutely no idea why or how he ends up there every morning. We cannot force him to participate in society in the manner that we think is most acceptable.

Here in Buffalo and Erie County, we have several agencies that are staffed with well-trained, dedicated employees who are working hard to reduce homelessness. Using trauma informed care, addressing substance use and diagnosing mental health, we are creating an alliance to address homelessness. It may not look that way to the person who drives by the man sleeping on a bench every morning. It takes time; it’s complicated.

Julie Rapp


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