[Note: The following letter is in response to The New Face of Homelessness in the Fox Valley, by Bill Bracksick (available on this site in PDF format.]
I thoroughly enjoyed Bill Braksick’s cover story on the Valley homeless situation, and I concur with his views that certain things need to be done to improve the opportunities for these individuals and others who might someday find themselves in that position.
However, I must say the reasons given for the people living there were sugar-coated. Sometimes lightly, sometimes in mass quantities. David, whom I have known for about four years, is not the recovering addict you sympathetically paint him as. While he is an outgoing “people person”, very giving, and highly intelligent (he often writes critically to the Post Crescent on policy matters and is an expert in obscure Beach Boy knowledge), he is also deeply troubled. His addiction woes are not ended, as he is currently awaiting trial on felony drug charge. And his jail time was not due primarily to his drug habit, but rather to his long history of domestic abuse – asaulting his own mother.
I cannot speak for the others mentioned in your article. I have every reason to believe they are kind-hearted souls who had a bad break. However, you do yourself and the community a disservice to be less than up-front about certain situations which have occurred. Ultimately, you turned what could have been a cautionary tale for our youth into a story whose unlikely heroes are falsely portrayed.
Yet, despite what I see as a gaping flaw in your report, I commend you on your choice of topics – interesting, timely, yet simultaneously timeless. Thank you for taking us where many dare never to tread.
Gavin C. Schmitt
209 E. 17th St.