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January 11, 2013
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Letter: Shelter needed for the homeless

Take action to provide shelter

Elijah Joseph Pickard-Aguilar was 29 years old on the night he died from hypothermia behind a strip mall in Medford. Pickard-Aguilar was homeless and the temperature on the night of his death was in the 20s.

Police have ruled out “foul play” and have concluded that his death was “accidental.” This means that Pickard-Aguilar wasn’t poisoned, hit over the head, shot, or stabbed.

His death was not the result of a single discrete act by a readily identifiable individual. But when all is said and done, neglect and indifference has proven to be no less deadly.

If we were to be honest with ourselves we wouldn’t call his death “accidental.” We would recognize it as the predictable consequence of our decision to ignore homelessness and to discount the lives of our neighbors.

We may mourn now, but for it to be anything less than shallow pretense, we must also take action to provide emergency shelter and dignified housing to those who have been left outdoors.

Ian Smith


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The News-Review Updated Jan 11, 2013 12:54PM Published Jan 11, 2013 12:54PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.