Home News Readers sound off on rethinking homelessness, Israel’s electorate and anti-vax RFK Jr.

Readers sound off on rethinking homelessness, Israel’s electorate and anti-vax RFK Jr.

The inherent value of people who lack housing

Corona: The recent rise in protests against homeless shelters in NYC communities is understandable, yet the anger seems misdirected. The increase in homelessness in one of the richest cities on Earth is dystopian and a local manifestation of a broader systemic issue in addressing the needs of vulnerable populations.

In addition to being victims of their circumstances, vulnerable populations are also victims of government prioritization schemes. For example, since homeless folks have one of the lowest voter turnout rates, their well-being and priorities fall to the bottom of the political priority triage — unless, of course, their existence impedes the neighborhood aesthetics or constituents’ livelihoods. Low voter turnout, coupled with the presence of myriad medical conditions, prevents homeless individuals from self-advocacy, making them outcasts.

This is exacerbated by resource misallocation and a deeper issue in our society, where problems are patched until they fester and become impossible to ignore. The recent protests over shelters clearly show that patching the wound of homelessness with underfunded, unsafe shelters is no longer sufficient.

The moment we stop casting invective against the homeless as morally flawed individuals or unproductive units of capitalism, their perceived value increases and their well-being becomes a priority. Simply sheltering them is patchwork. Homeless individuals require a holistic package of care, ranging from mental and medical health to workforce training — not so they can be squeezed for capitalistic value but simply because they are conscious agents with the capacity for tremendous suffering. As New Yorkers, we have more than the required resources to alleviate this suffering. Issa Khan

Making hard times harder

Manhattan: Re “Lives upended every 60 days” (March 17): Limiting shelter stays to 60 days for asylum seekers with children creates a perpetual system of family trauma and instability. Constantly uprooting asylum-seeking families — who already face language and financial constraints and are unaccustomed to navigating New York’s various government agencies — places them in even more danger of facing separation. A number of asylum-seeking parents have had children removed by the family policing system in New York City, the Administration for Children’s Services, over issues directly related to housing instability and miscommunications due to language barriers. The stress of frequent evictions and being forced to reapply for shelter every two months threaten their ability to thrive. We believe that every family, no matter how long they have resided here, deserves support. For newly arrived asylum seekers, that support must include access to stable and long-term housing, connections to resources, and work opportunities. Tehra Coles, executive director, Center for Family Representation

Work for it

Hartsdale, N.Y.: Congestion pricing? If the MTA needs money, let it sell bonds. Thomas P. Cunningham

Spring has sprung

Monroe Township, N.J.: To Voicer Vasilios Vasilounis: I loved your letter about the coming of spring. I smiled, looked up from my paper and saw a squirrel on my front lawn. What a way to start the day. Lorri Thompson

Evolution of a state

Calgary, Alberta: To Voicer Howard Schwach: All of us grew up admiring Israel’s socialism, which was the ideology enabling the draining of swamps, development of agriculture and creation of a people’s army to defend the state against its enemies. I also admired the imposition of capitalism, resulting in Israel becoming the “startup nation.” There has also been the demographic change in Israel. More than 50% of Jewish Israelis are descendants of Jews from Arab countries. These people are more right-wing and have stronger feelings about Arabs, under whose rule generations of their families lived as “dhimmis,” with fewer rights. As a democracy, it was only a matter of time until these people would prevail. We Western Jews have the choice to oppose this reality or support Israel, because no matter what, it is the ancestral home of the Jews and our lives have more meaning because of it. Larry Shapiro

Learned nothing

Riverhead, L.I.: After the horrors perpetrated against Jewish people about 80 years ago in places such as Auschwitz and Dachau, you would think the nation of Israel would never be involved in the commission of war crimes. You’d be wrong. Colin Grattan

Make it quick

Oak Ridge, N.J.: I just saw on the internet the best places to live in the U.S. if nuclear war broke out. Ehh, sorry, but the best place to live is where the biggest target is so you won’t know what hit you. Jim Heimbuch


Fort Worth, Texas: As Easter approaches, I can’t understand how Christian conservatives could possibly believe that Jesus would love whites but hate Black and Brown people and gays, would ridicule people with disabilities, separate immigrant children from their parents, carry an AR-15 assault rifle, bear false witness against a political opponent, pay off a porn star, welcome the stranger with razor wire, kill endangered species and sexually assault women. I can only assume they’re reading a very different Bible, one that’s obviously written by the lying, election-denying Antichrist. Sharon Austry

In fascist fashion

Manhattan: Voicer John Gelormino is very much like the Donald Trump he lauds — full of it. Comparing him to Hitler is fully accurate. Millions survived because Trump was voted out. He allowed hundreds of thousands of deaths with his outstandingly poor handling of COVID and his blatant science denial. His hatred of immigrants (kind of like yours, huh?) is always on his sleeve. But like you, he doesn’t check his facts. There were four Gelormino families in this country 100 years ago. So, what does that make your very recent ancestors, sir? Non-native-born, according to you. They should have been denied all basic rights, according to you.  T.S. Fallani

Shameful conduct

Barnegat, N.J.: To Voicers Fred Schoeneborn and Bob Pascarella: You two MAGA mutts are sickos! You support a man who is an adulterer, a rapist, a sexual deviant by his own admission, a convicted flim-flam man, a loser on his own TV show (no Emmys), and a man who hates the military that protects this country. What pride it must take to be a member of the GOP. Get help! Lynda Spurdis

Thankless job

Allentown, Pa.: I’m surprised Donald Trump wants to run for president again. If I were him, I’d be telling people, “What do ya want from me? My warnings went unheeded, Biden got elected and now you’re going to live with that!” Joseph Russo

Good work

Amityville, L.I.: Congratulations to New York State Attorney General Letitia James and her staff for finally bringing the Trump family civil fraud saga to an end, and Wayne LaPierre to boot. Thank you. Keep pursuing the unlawful ones. Barbara Reynolds

Rogue relative

Midland Park, N.J.: To Voicer Diane Pagen: I, too, am of Irish descent, but I am fiercely proud of the Kennedys and Bidens, especially on St. Patrick’s Day. You are correct in assuming the late Robert F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy are disgusted! But not for the reasons you think. Bobby Jr.’s anti-vaccine stance is downright dangerous. When he first announced his candidacy, some of his siblings released this statement: “Bobby might share the same name as our father, but he does not share the same values, vision or judgment. Today’s announcement is deeply saddening for us. We denounce his candidacy and believe it to be perilous for our country.” And you stated that the Kennedy family visited the White House “without one of them.” That isn’t true. Not all of Bobby Jr.’s siblings are in that photo. Mary Jo McDonough

Egregious guest

Great Neck, L.I.: I was repulsed and horrified to see George Santos at the State of the Union. He was expelled, wasn’t he? I live in District 3, which Tom Suozzi brilliantly just won. Nadine Feingold

Good move

Deer Park, L.I.: Great news that Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell is refusing to allow extradition to New York for this brutal murderer. Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg will let him go free on bail, if any, and he might be back to committing crimes. Bragg, resign already and get another job not in New York. Kevin Fedyszyn


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