Over 50 citizens in Boulder are through with the excuses about why almost 400 men, women and children go without shelter on any given night in our city.
Attending the Town Hall Forum on Homelessness at the public library Thursday night, July 2, this caring group of hardworking, concerned citizens expressed their concerns and insights about homelessness in our city. They came because they strongly believe that the city of Boulder possesses the human and monetary capital necessary to assure all its citizens a dignified life. They came because it matters.
Those present included homeowners, police officers, library employees, members of the street community, service providers and representatives from federal, county, city and nonprofit agencies. It was a frank discussion that gave voice to issues ranging from the need for increased cooperation and civic participation to the public health dangers presented by winter weather.
All agree that homelessness is a problem Boulder citizens can confront with characteristic passion and ingenuity. The homeless themselves share a desire to be part of a sustainable solution.
Now isn’t the time to feel overwhelmed, to ignore the public’s interest in this issue, to avoid a confrontation with the problem of homelessness. We have an opportunity to work together so that 400 citizens aren’t forced to live in our parks and on our streets.
We knew this as a city when we read that one homeless man brutally assaulted another in Central Park. We knew this as American citizens when we heard that the national unemployment rate rose to a level not seen in two generations. We know that now isn’t the time to ignore the blight of homelessness, because we agree that everyone in our nation and in this city can be offered equal access to an American way of life.
So this is an invitation to the Camera’s readers: come to the next Forum in August. Join others who believe in Boulder’s ability to care for its citizens. The Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and the Carriage House can only do so much to address the city’s needs.
As one incisive participant in the Forum shared, “This is an issue of common humanity.” But it’s also common sense. As we face the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression, we know there’s a coming flood.
Better to address it now than hope that the storm will leave us untouched.
Noah A Jennings
Boulder Shelter for the Homeless