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Might beaten man be alive today if city had acted earlier on housing?

A homeless man listens to speeches supporting workers' rights at the Maryland Poor People's Campaign rally in Baltimore's McKeldin Square. (file)
A homeless man listens to speeches supporting workers' rights at the Maryland Poor People's Campaign rally in Baltimore's McKeldin Square. (file) (J.M. Giordano)

I read with horror the news in The Sun that a homeless man, Randolph Cockrell, who was living on a Baltimore city street, became a victim of a violent person’s rage last week (“Baltimore man accused of fatally beating homeless man held without bail,” Aug. 9). The truly barbaric beating that this homeless man endured until he succumbed was inexplicable and inexcusable. I do not know either the accused person or the victim, but I am, nonetheless, distraught by this event. We cannot turn a blind eye to people who live on the streets. We cannot be complicit, especially when we know solutions to these social problems are within our reach as a civil society.

Speaking of solutions, I am encouraged to see that Mayor Catherine Pugh has finally announced an agreement to fund the Housing Trust Fund — approved by voters in 2016 — with the first $20 million. While this commitment is a major step in improving the deplorable lack of sufficient affordable housing, it is long overdue. I’m eager to see that fund be used to reduce the numbers of homeless people on the street that will, in turn, reduce the numbers of homeless people who become victims to senseless violence. However, I do wonder if Mr. Cockrell's death might have been avoided had the city committed to this funding earlier.

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Let’s all join forces to put that money to work ASAP and work to be sure that this fund is the first of many more concrete responses to the crisis of homelessness. It’s the least we can do to honor Mr. Cockrell who died a cruel and lonely death.

Tricia Rubacky, Baltimore

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