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Homeless issue can’t be ignored

Homeless people in Glenwood Springs?Yes, it’s a reality.Whatever the reasons, there are more than 100 homeless people in Glenwood who currently utilize the drop-in facility at the Silver Spruce Motel. The drop-in center operates thanks to the motel and Karolyn Spencer, who has made it her mission to help the homeless of the area.The issue of a homeless shelter is a sticky one. People who live on the streets are known to occasionally cause problems with the police and may not be the most valuable members of the community; however, that doesn’t mean the issue shouldn’t be addressed.The Dec. 13 death of Helena Jandura, caused by hypothermia, showed that tragedy can occur.It’s an issue that the city should start looking at. By asking questions and addressing the issue now, the city will be prepared for the future. In too many instances, government waits for an issue to become an active volcano before reacting.With homelessness in Glenwood, it’s time to start weighing options and seeing how to handle the issue in the future. It’s a situation that isn’t going away. Homelessness is something that prompts us to look away and ignore it. But with 153 different people stopping in at the Silver Spruce drop-in center and nearly 3,000 visits in 2004, it shows that it’s an issue that cannot be ignored.Spencer has done a tremendous job but she could use some help. The city should look at ways of lending her a hand.Homelessness is always more prominent in the winter. A night-time drop-in center during cold nights might be an option. Local nonprofits and the city could jointly discuss options for making that happen or hatching other ideas to address this issue. It’s easy to blame homeless people for their predicament. Some have substance abuse problems, some have fallen on financial hard times – there are a number of reasons why people find themselves living on the street.It’s not our job to judge them, but homelessness in Glenwood Springs is a reality that needs to be addressed.Addressing the issue is step one. Preparing for the future should always be on the radar of city and county governments.Homelessness is a reality that can’t be ignored.


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