Proposal to site homeless shelter near airport would benefit only homeless pilots

Published at on May 20, 2015

I appreciate the Gazette-Times’ articles in the past few months drawing attention to homelessness issues in Corvallis, but I was dismayed by the April 29 story about opposition to the proposed downtown location. The article appears one-sided, giving voice to inaccurate information and intolerant attitudes.

A coalition of homeless advocates has dedicated years of service and energy to sheltering homeless men and women in Corvallis. Their efforts to develop a permanent shelter have been deliberate, thoughtful and transparent. They have worked together with the city and groups providing meals, jobs and other essential services.

Homeless people are not a homogeneous group, not all “convicted of sex offenses,” but as varied as the rest of the population: veterans, mentally disabled, socially isolated, financially bankrupt, children, students, men and women.

Homeless shelters don’t attract homeless people to our town. Shelters don’t foster crime, but may be reducing harm by helping people stay off the streets. And a homeless shelter near the airport only seems convenient for that subset of homeless people who own a private jet.

Homelessness is a societal problem, and presents a moral imperative. Sheltering those without a home is a basic tenant of any just society and of all our great religious traditions. “The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members.” Please support the efforts of homeless advocates in our town.

Cosimo Storniolo