What a crock from Marbut and Radle `“Helter shelter,” July 18-24`. Maybe I missed the part where there were well-advertised, conveniently located, and scheduled public meetings long before the decision to build this in the Garzas’ neighborhood? Distributing flyers “days before the groundbreaking” doesn’t hack it. It was already a done deal at that point. The residents were going to be told what was to happen, not asked for input. It’s easy for Marbut and Radle to be condescending when this will have absolutely no impact on their daily lives. The people who live in that neighborhood have every right to be worried about what’s being built. People like the Garzas have spent their savings building their home, only to find out their nearest neighbor will be a mega-homeless shelter which will have an adverse impact on the neighboring community. And now the residents are invited to join a Neighborhood Advisory Council? Too little, too late.
K.A. White, San Antonio
As a person who has not only been an advocate on behalf of homeless individuals and families but has managed a shelter, I was stunned at Robert Marbut’s cavalier response to residents who live in the neighborhood where the Haven will be built. Based upon the remarks from the residents, not enough was done to communicate the plan to them. Most people make judgments from their experiences. Most likely Marbut has not experienced what many of us have experienced with homeless individuals in the last 18 to 24 months. Shortly after City Council passed an ordinance that limited activities in the downtown area, many homeless were pushed into the Westside neighborhoods. Soon Commerce Street from Frio to 24th Street witnessed persons sleeping in vacant lots, shoplifting in the stores that we frequent, panhandling at intersections, sleeping on VIA benches, using vacant lots and creek beds as toilets and well, I could go on. Remember that on these same streets our children and grandmothers walk to school or the store and working people wait for the bus. I fully understand the primary reasons why individuals and families become homeless and support the much needed services. It is unbelievable that until relatively recently most homeless families had no place to stay and there are still not enough rooms for them. I understand that many homeless individuals suffer from mental disorders. However the average citizen does not know this but they do know what they see and experience. There needs to be some calm re-consideration to the valid points that the residents have made. They should not be judged because the quality of their neighborhood is important to them.
Magdalena Alvarado, San Antonio
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