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Homeless deserve better

The editorial, "No journey home" (Nov. 11), was a welcome response to the insensitivity in City Hall. Taking away people's belongings, whether clothes, papers or hard-won bits of furniture on a pretext of cleaning the area they live in, is cruel and contemptuous. Nobody deserves to be treated like that, ever. If the mayor does not like seeing homeless encampments in Baltimore, she should put more resources into finding housing for those who need it.

The urban renewal push that eliminated virtually all the old rooming houses and single room occupancy hotels did a grave disservice to the segment of the population that needed precisely that kind of housing. Ever since, there has been a huge gap between the resource of shelters and street encampments and even the simplest individual apartment. If more people had the simple security of a room with a door they could close and lock, there would be fewer people on the street and having that kind of stability would probably enable at least some to order their lives better and move up to more conventional housing.

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The present policy, which amounts to saying that if you can't at least emulate middle-class standards you don't deserve to live anywhere, is repugnant.

Katharine W. Rylaarsdam, Baltimore

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