Tourism vital to local economy

DUMMERSTON — I almost wrote to The Commons in response to Jessica Mack's Viewpoint about homelessness and panhandling, but I just couldn't seem to find the right words. After seeing the letters in response, I'm glad to see that others feel the same way about the article as I do.

I found it very upsetting and vindictive and thought that it contained a lot of blanket assumptions that aren't necessarily true. I don't automatically assume that just because someone is panhandling that they are homeless, nor do I assume that because an individual is homeless that they are automatically a panhandler.

Maybe Ms. Mack doesn't care about tourists, but she should. Tourism is vital to our local economy and having a vibrant, healthy downtown. What would Main Street look like if all of the shops and restaurants were shuttered? Would she want to come to Brattleboro then? I don't think so.

Yes, homelessness is a problem that is fueled by many factors but, as Byron Stookey wrote, I don't think we're all that bad. If you don't want to hand out cash on the street, you can always choose to support organizations that provide food and and shelter for those who are in need.

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