How we treat the most vulnerable among us says the most about us

On March 25, the Wenatchee City Council will vote on a 1/10th of 1% sales tax to provide services for the homeless.

East Wenatchee voted in favor of the tax on March 16. For the tax to take effect, possibly as early as September, the Wenatchee City Council must also vote to approve. Approval of the tax could provide as much as $800,000 in revenue from Wenatchee and $400,000 from East Wenatchee.

Homelessness is a complex problem with a simple solution: housing. Homelessness affects all of us in the community regardless of our beliefs about its causes. It has a cost. Homelessness doesn’t care how you feel about it. We will pay for it one way or another.

In fact, we pay more taking care of the problems created by homelessness (e.g., unpaid medical bills, legal fees, law enforcement costs) than we would if we paid to house the homeless. Confluence Health reported writing off approximately $2.5 million worth of healthcare provided to homeless individuals over the past two years (this data was provided during the East Wenatchee city council meeting on March 16).

That’s $2.5 million that could have been used to provide other much-needed services in the valley. Several other U.S. city and state governments have also done the math and determined that providing housing for the homeless saves money.

If you believe that the previous statement must be incorrect, do a Google search for “Pathways to Housing,” “Housing Works,” and “Low Income Housing Initiative.”

How we treat the most vulnerable among us says the most about us. Paying a sales tax of 1/10th of 1% to help those who need it the most feels cheap. It feels like the least we can do.

Kevin W. Schell

East Wenatchee

Take care of farmworkers with vaccinations

I am contacting you to talk about an issue that is happening in Chelan County, and what I would consider a solution to the problem. In Chelan County as of now, there have been around 6,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 60 deaths. Many cases are from farmworkers.

There are many farm companies that are not implementing the correct safety regulations for the health of the workers. A great example would be Gebbers Farms located in Brewster.

In December of 2020, the Gebbers Farm company was fined over health and safety regulations by the state Department of Labor and Industries. King 5 News stated the company faced “fines totaling more than $2 million from Washington state regulators after an investigation into the COVID-19 deaths of two workers.”

Iagree with farm companies getting fined for not following the safety regulations needed for the health of their workers.

What I would consider to be the best solution toward this issue is to make the farmworkers eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Farm workers are extremely essential and should be given the best care possible.

Chelan County is well known for their exports of fruits to the rest of the world. In my personal opinion, I believe that by not taking the best care possible of our farmworkers, the exports of fruits going out of Chelan County will be affected.

Luis Alvarez Leyva

Manson

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