Don’t blame the homeless


I commend Cornelius Hegeman for his excellent letter, in which he asks for “some serious journalism” on why the homeless people in downtown Miami resist opportunities to go to shelters ( Homeless holdouts, June 24, Readers’ Forum).

We keep getting the same stereotypical comments about the chronically homeless who, according to everyone, are naked and defecating in the streets. Aside from the fact that this is untrue, we need to look at why this is happening.

A look at the history of mental health treatment in this country might give us a clue. A few decades ago, we decided to close state psychiatric hospitals where we were “warehousing” chronically mentally ill people. We were going to provide state-of-the-art community mental health centers to treat them.

But financial constraints and NIMBY issues kept this approach from working. There are numerous other issues, such as lack of public washrooms and poor street maintenance that need to be investigated as well.

The Miami Herald historically has done a superb job of uncovering the many layers of public problems in this community and state. Assign an investigative journalist to this important humanitarian problem, and let’s stop blaming the victims.

Isabelle Hill, Miami

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • The readers’ forum

    Preliminary library tax rate must survive

    County commissioners praised the hundreds of residents who descended upon Government Center recently to plead for a $64 million library budget for the coming year. Commissioners settled on a less ambitious course, approving a slight increase above Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s recommended tax rate to avert further service cuts and layoffs of an additional 90 librarians.

  • A very liveable city

    Re the July 21 article Car-free and frustrated: I, too, live in Brickell and I have been delighted with the wonderful transportation system in downtown Miami. I can easily get to the University of Miami hospitals, the airport, the Arsht Center, the museums and hundreds of great restaurants. And when the new Brickell City Center opens, with its great shops, it will be even better. I almost never use my car.

  • Immigration reform

    Re the July 18 editorial, Follow the law: We should rescue some valid assertions. First, we all should know why so much insecurity exists in Central America.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category