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Reader's View: In zeal to help, Duluth has created a monster

The streets, commercial property, and our own private property are overrun with people who are not welcome in these well-intentioned shelters due to their unwillingness to abide by any standard of conduct.

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We as Northlanders are very charitable people. We have undeniably good intentions. But our desire to assist the less fortunate must begin to be tempered with a cogent and realistic commitment to address both homelessness and public safety.

Our fair city has failed in finding a balance.

Assisting families and individuals who, due to misfortune, find themselves with no shelter should be a priority. In our zeal to do so, however, we have created a monster.

All too often, we fail to provide safe and affordable housing for good people who are down and out because the system is overwhelmed by people who do not want to improve their lives. We fail when we do not acknowledge that people are flawed. Many homeless people will not make any attempt to abide by more than accommodating rules, established by well-meaning charities, in an attempt to provide a safe place for unfortunate people to rest and take shelter. These folks are not the exception. They wind up getting banned from the very places created to assist them. Violence, illegal drug use, drinking, and general disorder are pervasive.

The streets, commercial property, and our own private property are overrun with people who are not welcome in these well-intentioned shelters due to their unwillingness to abide by any standard of conduct.

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Addiction and/or mental illness play a key role in this reality. Therein lies the problem. It is a vicious cycle affecting every person in our city.

We can ignore it, or we can look for solutions.

There are no easy answers. Until we as Northlanders are willing to rethink our understanding of the human condition, our neighbors and our own families will have to live in a very dangerous environment.

Matthew Feiock 

Duluth

Letters to the editor are a critical part of the community dialogue, and the News Tribune attempts to publish all letters of opinion meeting our requirements.
Letters are limited to 300 words, must be the original work of the author and must be exclusive to the News Tribune. Letters are edited for style, space, accuracy and civility. Letter writers are limited to one published submission every 30 days.
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Email submissions to: letters@duluthnewscom.

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