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‘I just subscribed to Potomac Local and wanted to commend you for your piece on the homeless camps on the Parsons property’

We received this letter to the editor regarding our coverage of a new commuter parking garage that could be built on a property where homeless campers live.

“Hi Uriah, I just subscribed to Potomac Local and wanted to commend you for your piece on the homeless camps on the Parsons property.

Several of us in our church has been for the past 5-6 years working with individuals living there. We were able to help two men get out of the woods and live in studio apartments. Certainly, there are different personalities int the woods, some more than others interested in finding sustainable housing. But it’s been my experience that many have suffered or are suffering from emotional problems, substance abuse, and/or criminal records that make it difficult to find work.

Mr. Parsons has been a blessing over these years in letting the homeless use his property. Trash has become more of a problem. We have, in the past, come in with trucks to remove trash.

There has been an increase in transients as other campsites have been closed. I know people who go out of their way to keep their camp areas clean. But overall, its gone downhill.

I’ve met with and gone to numerous meetings over the past couple of weeks on this issue and while there are people with good hearts in the relevant government offices and in the non-profits, I have not heard of a comprehensive approach to assist the 30, 40, or 50 people (numbers vary) that will have to leave the Parsons property. Existing programs to help the homeless have some real limitations. While there are programs being developed, how effective they’ll will be still remain to be seen.

It will be interesting to hear from the county and the non-profits concerning the exact number of people they helped find new living space by March 1.

Thanks again for providing some good and much-needed coverage of what’s going on in our area.”

Rich Garon
Woodbridge

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