Listen to this article

In response to the anonymous letter writer quoted in Tom’s Mailbag on Aug. 2, who speculated about the effect on downtown businesses from the so-called “blight” of homeless people in the Main Street viaduct:

I work at a business just around the corner from that location. I had intended to take 10 minutes of “lunch” to go to the viaduct for a few minutes on a recent Monday afternoon, at the city’s announced time for removal of personal belongings, in order to document the event and provide support.

I was unable to do so. Before the truck rolled in, we experienced a constant rush of customers for over half an hour, on a weekday afternoon at a small retail store. This is consistent with my recent experience. Our clientele has clearly not been deterred by the presence of homeless people trying to survive with a modicum of comfort and dignity.

Stop using downtown businesses to justify the dehumanization of our fellow community members. It’s not only cruel and misguided, it’s inaccurate.

We must address the root causes of homelessness and support options for shelter and long-term housing, rather than dismissing human beings as a “public nuisance” to be “abated.”