As Christmas Day fast approaches, let us not forget the invisible and the vulnerable, our homeless children. Children and youth are our country's fastest-growing homeless population. In addition, nationwide there are some 30,000 foster youth who are aging out of the system. They are preparing to repeat the life cycle they were born into: homelessness, incarceration, young parents whose children are destined for foster care.
These youth do not deserve to be "recycled." They need us to create an encouraging and supportive community. They need the continuing work of Open House Ministries, the largest family shelter in Clark County. I write, with concern, as Vancouver Housing Authority plans to build permanent government housing for addicted and mentally ill adults within two blocks of Open House Ministries. Lincoln Place is to be sited directly across the street from Share House, the largest homeless shelter and soup kitchen in Clark County. Men and women may live at Lincoln Place as they continue their drug and alcohol addictions and untreated mental illness, so I am concerned for the safety of the children, as well as the negative consequences this population brings to the neighborhood.
I encourage citizens to oppose the siting of Lincoln Place. Let us, as a community, provide our homeless children a safe environment.
Ceci Ryan Smith