Letters to the Editor

Human services element needs to be supported | Letters | Nov. 11

A few months ago, a laborer I know injured himself and fell deeper through societal cracks. At the same time, an educated and capable friend of mine left an abusive relationship.

Both were seeking a roof over their heads. I turned to my church to brainstorm resources and to Helpline, and from both agencies, the answer was the same: HRB.

However, HRB’s waiting list is so long that there was in fact no room at the inn. The fellow is still struggling, suicidal, couch surfing and homeless. My woman friend has been able to cobble together a tenuous situation but it is still insecure.

What an important service HRB can offer if their mission is fully funded. These hard, mean times have touched our gentle island fiscally and emotionally, as I am sure you are aware.

Vitriol and aggression is gaining a toehold here like I never thought possible as a 25-year resident of the island.

I’d like to briefly share part of a relevant story I read recently: “First Nations people in the Far North dread encounters with Windigo, spirit creatures with unquenchable appetites and hearts of ice. In their terrible hunger, Windigo threaten to consume the world, to devour every soul and living thing. Always eating, yet never filled, their hunger is never satisfied. Windigo lack patience, self-control, and any awareness of the mystery and magnificence of others. They cannot stop searching for prey long enough to see the beauty in the small or mundane. They ceaselessly seek to devour the other, having no awareness of kinship and belonging. Nor do they realize that eventually spring will melt their icy hearts and leave them all too aware of the costs of their all-consuming hunger.”

I am not usually so poetic, but I do think we are becoming Windigo-like, and at risk of altering the safe-harbor nature of our island. Please, choose to direct effective and real good with our limited resources.

Personally, I’ll gladly use potholes as traffic calming devices in order to offer care to our most vulnerable.

I urge council to please support HRB as it fills a critical and unique niche.

Beth Rahe Balas, Bainbridge Island

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