There was a large, well attended, community brain-storming meeting recently in Durango having to do with the city’s obvious issues with homeless people. DS&A member Jane Dunn, among others, attended and came away with the conviction that we must deal with this human crisis somehow…but answers to this intractable problem are elusive.

Jane says, “There are no easy solutions. One thing is clear to me: Despite what anyone thinks about the situation, the very least we can do is treat people with respect and dignity. And I think Sarah Rankin (see link to article below) states this very clearly. Just be a decent human being, to everyone you meet. You don’t have to condone or like how someone lives his or her life. But you also don’t have to be mean and degrading to him or her. From there, it’s a process to finding a solution. Our current mayor has no intention or desire to help the citizens of this town. And like it or not, the homeless are citizens. In a previous contact I had with her, she made it very clear that it is not the city’s responsibility. ”

Jane made one other thing perfectly clear: she doesn’t like Durango’s current mayor. At all.     Not. At. All.

Here is  the article by Sarah Rankin which appeared in the durango Telegraph

http://www.durangotelegraph.com/opinion/la-vida-local/the-long-way-home/

Judging by the lively discussion at January’s meeting on the subject we will probably schedule a full monthly meeting discussion on the topic of Durango’s homeless sometime soon. During our brief discussion, it was noted that since Durango offers a more welcoming environment than other Colorado cities, homeless people tend to gravitate to our little town. But those who work among the homeless population say that the infrastructure and programs to deal with the influx of people needing help are strained to the breaking point.  We might do well to turn our attention to our neighbors in Cortez who have established “The Bridge Emergency Shelter” which offers food, a safe bed, and showers. These amenities are essential if a person is trying to obtain a job…imagine job hunting from your mountain tent in 5 degree weather!

Clearly, the status quo cannot hold.