The Rev. Larry Arce’s opinion piece (Oct. 30) on homelessness is a gross oversimplification.
Rev. Arce neatly divides the homeless population into two distinct and mutually exclusive groups, which he labels “homeless” and “vagrants.” In his simplistic bifurcation, the vagrants are the bad guys, deliberately choosing a life of crime and addiction, something he says they will never willingly leave behind. He contrasts vagrants to the deserving homeless, who are willing to take the necessary steps to get their lives back on track.
In reality, the homeless community is a good deal more diverse than that. There are all kinds of people out there. Furthermore, most homeless are constantly evolving. A homeless person might be a confirmed addict engaging in criminal acts on Monday, but by Tuesday decide to leave that lifestyle behind and try to get his or her life back on track.
I have worked with many homeless, some of whom might have fit Rev. Arce’s definition of vagrant at earlier times in their lives, but no longer do. People do change. Not all of them will change, but many will. It is wrong to just write them all off. Let’s not give up hope for the least of those among us.
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Gerry Bill, Fresno