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Help, don’t harass Auburn’s homeless

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This letter is in response to the article regarding “panhandling” (Journal, July 13). I hope the Auburn City Council and Auburn Police Chief Valerie Harris will read it. Due to circumstances of which were totally beyond my control, I became homeless and lost my home care provider job on the same day. Like Josh Curly, I had no choice but to display a sign at shopping centers or stores. With a bad back and feet and tendonitis in both arms, there is absolutely no way I could carry a heavy food box from Dewitt Center to my encampment. My sign said in part “Homeless and disabled U.S. Army Veteran needs your help.” Displaying a sign is not panhandling at all. Panhandling is when someone approaches a person and says, “Hey man, do you got any spare change?” I never spoke to anyone while displaying my sign unless they spoke to me first. If displaying a sign is so wrong, how come the police never harassed protesters at the State Capitol who were displaying their signs? During my two-year homeless period I would have starved to death without the help of the good folks of Auburn. Sometimes people driving by would yell, “Get a job.” My response was “If I were physically capable of taking on work, then I wouldn’t even be here.” And that’s the truth! I sincerely hope the council members and the APD will do the right thing and leave these poor people alone. Thanks to the Veteran’s Administration, I’m no longer homeless. RED SKELTON, Newcastle