To the Editor:
The recent attention from our local hero Joe Burrow and the landslide of support to hunger issues in Athens County and southeast Ohio has been fantastic. The hope that fewer children will go to bed hungry is heartening. However, still many go to bed without heat or water, or are living in dangerous households due to lack of utilities.
A recent observation caused me further investigation. Upon noticing people toting propane tanks in the colder months, I checked with some retailers. My suspicions were correct that people are using “grill tanks” to heat their homes. I was informed that they also buy the smaller tanks, those used for lamps and camp stoves, for the same purpose.
Our society is to blame. We have shamed people into believing that needing help is wrong. Our government continues to erect barricades and obstacles for those needing help. The continual berating of the downtrodden only makes them weaker. For us to do nothing to uplift and embolden those with less is cowardice.
Demand that our county and local government officials act, including:
Starting a conversation about county housing issues, township ZONING, homelessness, and affordable and safe housing.
Require county-wide permitting for building, electrical and plumbing modifications to all dwellings.
Dedicating future expanded tax revenue to affordable housing.
Our local agencies also need to ignore mandates and pressure from above and do the right thing.
We only exist for a short time in the spirit of things as humans. The cool thing would be to leave a better world behind.