Re: “Mercer Island restricts camping on public property in near-unanimous vote” [Feb. 16, Project Homeless]:
As a resident of Mercer Island, it seems shocking to me that there is such a negative response to the problem of homelessness on the island.
I just jotted the following down, to be used or not. I guess I just want to be an additional voice, at least to the editors:
Would the Mercer Island City Council please show humanity? According to the recently approved ordinance, it seems that a homeless person sleeping out-of-doors and meeting with the Mercer Island Police Department officer are faced with three options: Pay a fine, with money they probably don’t have; go to jail, with the consequences, even though homelessness is not a crime; or be sent to a shelter on the Eastside or in Seattle, where there is no space for them.
Of course, it is understandable that Mercer Island residents don’t want homeless people living outside. However, Mercer Island generally is a wealthy community. Why not find a building and invite homeless people to live there temporarily in small units — with availability to a social worker, legal help and medical assistance. What humanity that would show!
Ruth Kverndal, Mercer Island