Letters to the Editor 2019

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To the Editor: 

The Rio Grande section of Middle Township is the dumping ground for much that is undesirable in Cape May County. The scattered layout of new chain stores and old shopping areas provides traffic and trafficking of all kinds. Couple these things with the wooded areas and an abandoned railroad, and Rio Grande is a homeless haven.

While many gravitate here, others are ushered from the shore communities getting them out of sight of the vacationers. Lots of folks are in concert for this to take place. This masterpiece is conducted by the wealthy business owners of Cape May County and performed by political leaders at every level.

With pictures and narrations posted on social media, I began publicizing the severity of our homeless issue many years ago. I then began making repeated presentations to our Township Committee and stood before our county government as well.

Though there was no support forthcoming from any government entity, with the press I received, along with my letters to the editor in the Herald, many concerned citizens were brought forward.

We began filling the meeting rooms of the aforementioned governing bodies. Our concern was for a homeless shelter and Cape May being the only county in the state without one, still, nothing changed.

As time went on, Middle Township's government became even more aligned with the business community. I began addressing our lack of affordable housing and the committee's seeming disregard for accepted policies.

I suggested the commercial development was not only changing Middle's once quaint appearance but, in fact, was increasing the need for affordable housing while decreasing the availability for its placement.

Most retail employees are near the bottom of wage earners. Many with minimal benefits need Social Services to provide basic necessities.

In essence, the taxpayers supplement these businesses by providing the benefits that the employer won't. With our county's refusal to consider a homeless shelter and Middle Township's complicity in this problem, we have a humanitarian crisis.

We are fortunate to have the Branches, in Rio Grande. The Branches are a faith-based group that feed, clothe, counsel and, at times, house our homeless.

Their efforts are complemented by similar groups and generous donations from caring citizens. Still, these things come up short without a homeless shelter and comprehensive programs to address the issue.

Soon, winter will be upon us, and much of what I spoke to will be magnified by the severity of the elements. The Code Blue program for providing shelter in freezing weather has been denied a system for alerting the homeless of the warming centers being available.

With all that being said, let me get to the point. Homeless are everywhere; politicians who ignore them are not. Our political leaders are refusing to address it and we are giving them tacit approval.

The way for us to confront the homeless issue is to vote out the politicians who won't. We have not done that. Middle Township just had an opportunity to begin confronting this problem. Our caring citizens chose to stick with a nice guy who won't make waves.

In today's hateful atmosphere, many are now maligning our downtrodden as responsible for their own plight; I am truly concerned for our homeless. While our politicians are responsible for complicating the homeless problem, we are responsible for keeping the same politicians in place. As long as we play such games, so shall we play with the fate of our homeless brothers and sisters.

I've been saying these things for a very long time. When will the caring begin to care enough?

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