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Recently I read in the Fayetteville Disturber a report from Myron Pitts in regards the homeless situation in the main library area downtown. I beg to differ with him on several issues as I don’t believe the library is for everyone especially the homeless [unless] they have a library card, are checking out books, doing research or other acceptable things customary to most library patrons. 

The library is not a home away from home. The libraries have a mission and it is not providing shelter and bathing facilities for the homeless. 

A lady told me of her visit to the main library restroom where she encountered a nude female bathing in the sink. I would guess some find these behaviors educational for the youngsters visiting the facilities. While I do believe in helping hands I don’t think the community needs to be a collection point for the homeless within the southeast. 

When the community goes beyond a ‘helping hand up’’ the word spreads and the town becomes saturated with ne’er do wells taking advantage of the offerings. According to Pitts, it is public knowledge; “the library has become a de facto day care center for homeless people, or folks who are otherwise down on their luck.” 

We do not have to accept that the library should fill a gap in our social safety net as there are other places for them to go. When you provide shelter, food and clothing, why should they not flock here to take what is made available at no cost to them? Not long ago we counted homeless in the tens and twenties but now in the hundreds and nobody has to wonder whythey are collecting here. 

In the late 1990s, the Downtown Alliance requested assistance from the city council citing unacceptable numbers of homeless, vagrants and panhandlers who were loitering on downtown streets, sleeping on benches and in bus stop shelters, urinating and defecating in the tunnels and recessed store fronts. Action was taken to lock the tunnels, remove bus stop shelters and benches and police patrols in the area kept the vagrants moving elsewhere which greatly improved the downtown situation. 

The Fayetteville area has a big heart and goes well beyond the norm in helping people in need, but people need to be vetted for any assistance to be given. Readers need to be informed about the whole situation as many of our so-called homeless are that way because of choice, as they do
move from town to town seeking better opportunities for
 free things. 

Some of the people you see loitering about have mental problems and should be residing in state-run facilities but we know the state has been closing homes and turning their patients loose to roam communities. I recommend to the citizens of the Fayetteville area to jointly create a facility to “manage” the needs of the homeless and vagrants where they can be vetted, and do so away from shopping areas, libraries and key visitor locations. 

Create and enforce vagrancy ordinances! Since most of us reading this are paying the freight on this overall situation we need to have a say in what goes on in and about our public facilities. As taxpayers, we do not have to accept the homeless and vagrant population in their abuse of our common sense, good nature and facilities. We need to look forward to having less of them about.

Finally, please do not give panhandlers cash who beg on our street corners as it encourages more of the same behaviors. 

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