Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Mon, March 25

Letter: Homeless need more

I was dismayed by the July 5 article "Cornerstone Mission and its partners team up to feed the less fortunate". So much of importance was left unsaid. Statements by Executive Director Lisa Beauchamp that Cornerstone is "not a retirement home," that there is no excuse for panhandling because Cornerstone is "there to help," and that mentally ill people are not welcomed because they can be disruptive overlook some very unpleasant facts. Per the Arizona Department of Housing, the number of homeless people in Mohave County far exceeds the available shelter space, nearly 20 percent of the homeless are severely mentally ill, and a sizable portion of the 44 percent who suffer from chronic disease, physical injury and/or disability are elderly.

In addition, substance abuse is a contributing factor to homelessness for only 28 percent, which makes a heavily regimented religious facility that focuses primarily on curing addiction based on a model that harkens back to a distant past when the homeless were almost entirely alcoholic men is less than optimal for the majority of people currently in that situation. Ms. Beauchamp's statement that run-away young people "don't want to contact their parents" was also a missed opportunity to point out that many young people leave home to escape sexual and physical abuse, and can't risk being handed back to their abusers.

Kingman is a very giving community (as evidenced by its generosity to Cornerstone Mission). Can't we reach deep and make creating appropriate housing/facilities for these highly vulnerable groups a priority?

Aleeta Stamn



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