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Letter: I agree: It's time to get serious about solving homeless problem

Homeless issues touch on numerous city departments including Library, Parks, Police, and EMS and as such need to be addressed on an ongoing basis.

Letter to the Editor graphic

The "Our View" from Nov. 27, about the Rochester area homeless issue, was right on point. Homeless issues touch on numerous city departments including library, parks, police, and EMS and as such need to be addressed on an ongoing basis.

It will be a challenge to address those issues. The sources and facets of homelessness are many and there will be new entrants to the homeless situation and others facing housing insecurity. Stopgap measures must be recognized for what they are and the city council must begin to act from a very broad and comprehensive perspective to look at the homeless problems in the long term -- issues which can only be addressed by working toward affordable housing and rents for all, with a spirit of compassion as a designated City of Compassion, treating all homeless not as "them," but with dignity and honor as members of our Rochester family.

Olmsted County, Olmsted County Community Services and Dave Dunn with the HRA are terrific partners working to provide services. The new Empowering Connections and Housing Outreach Center (ECHO Center) is an invaluable resource, especially being sited next door to the warming center in close proximity to those most needing the services.

The task force, led by Library Director Audrey Betcher, was outstanding with solid results; let's continue her work. The potential is tremendous for resourceful and enduring partnerships between community groups and agencies, service providers, nonprofits, faith organizations, community leaders, businesses and other stakeholders all of which are passionate about addressing the issues and are ready and eager partners to work with city council to provide safe, stable affordable housing.

The solutions are not easy and now it's time for the mayor and city council to take the lead to continue the work. Yes, "it's time for Rochester to get serious about finding real, long-term solutions to this problem."

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Nancy Zaworski, Rochester

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