Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor (Sept. 17): Homeless housing, mental illness

Mourners arrive before a vigil Thursday for Dr. Achutha Reddy outside his Holistic Psychiatric Services office, where he was murdered Wednesday night.
Mourners arrive before a vigil Thursday for Dr. Achutha Reddy outside his Holistic Psychiatric Services office, where he was murdered Wednesday night. The Wichita Eagle

Don’t stereotype people with mental illness

I am saddened to hear about the murder of psychiatrist Achutha Reddy. My thoughts and prayers go out to Dr. Reddy’s family, his colleagues, his professional associates and to his clients. It is a great loss for his family and friends.

It is also a loss for the family of the man who allegedly committed the murder and for the mental health community as a whole. However, a statement made by a social worker on local TV news has reminded me to caution that in times such as these, while grieving his loss, we must be careful to refrain from perpetuating the false stereotype that persons living with mental illness are more likely to commit violent acts than the general public.

Yes, it is a terrible tragedy, but we must not expand the tragedy by stigmatizing persons with mental illness who live successfully and contribute in many ways to the community. We mourn the loss of Dr. Reddy and I hope that the work he did to decrease the stigma surrounding mental illness is not forgotten.

Lynn Kohr, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Wichita

Homeless housing problem still exists

Family Promise of Greater Wichita would like to respond to the July 31 article that said “transitional housing for homeless women and families simply isn’t needed anymore.”

Numbers cited are from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s annual point-in-time count. This count, by definition and methodology, overlooks families’ temporary living with relatives or friends in a car, shelter or hotel due to an eviction or economic hardship.

In contrast, data from the U.S. Department of Education’s McKinney-Vento program indicates that the Wichita school district provided services for over 2,450 homeless students on 2015-16. These are the families we serve.

We receive 10-20 inquiries per week from Wichita-area families desperately seeking assistance. The experiences of these families are that local family shelters are routinely full. To fill this gap, we utilize resources from the local faith community to provide lodging, hospitality and hope.

We believe in community-based solutions. In order to achieve a greater understanding of the prevalence of family homelessness in Wichita, we courage further investigation into the true needs of our community.

Jacqueline Cook Green, executive director, Family Promise of Greater Wichita

Letters to the Editor

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