Your editorial ("Shelter Imperative," Aug. 25) was underscored in the article by Penelope McMillan on the eviction of several disabled people, with very little notice and no relocation payments (Metro, Aug. 29).
Though these tragedies must certainly be rectified, the crucial point of the article was that about 200 single-room-occupancy hotels have been torn down over the last 10 years, leaving only 273 remaining. This has resulted in a situation repeated throughout the nation, that of homelessness.
Your suggestion of a $7.50-per-square-foot fee on commercial construction to raise $75 million a year for housing would certainly be a help.
But this is a problem of greater magnitude which must have federal support. The governmental hands-off approach to housing of the past nine years, coupled with an unnecessary military buildup, must be reversed.
A coalition of several hundred peace and justice organizations is sponsoring a walk on Washington on Oct. 7 with three demands: End homelessness, restore federal funding for low-income housing programs, and build permanent affordable housing, not shelter, for the homeless. Their cause is just and should be supported by all.