Colorado Forests and Denver's Homeless

February 16, 2018

People from around the country come to our utopia of scenic views of the Continental Divide, pine, aspen and spruce trees, and rock promontories to relax with family and friends in our National Parks. The Colorado Rockies provide some of the most beautiful backdrops with campgrounds to get away from it all – unless you are one of many of Denver’s homeless.

There are many who are not simply camping. They are living. In the wake of the recent massive cost-of-living increase in the Denver area, Forest Service land has become a rent-free option for those who have been displaced and may suffer from mental disorders or substance abuse.

Danger Forest Illustration Owen Freeman 1280x720 300x188With our homeless issue unaddressed, forests are suffering everything from trash and human waste to syringes, making several campgrounds into uninhabitable zones for recreational users.

We are not the only ones to have this on our hands. Cities across the Western United States, including San Francisco, Seattle and Portland have declared a state of emergency over homelessness.

How to Help?

Throwing a homeless person into jail for flouting the rules or recidivism costs $38,000 a year and does nothing to help either the individual or the taxpayer. Along with mental health care, and affordable accommodation, gaining back the dignity of self-support is everything.

Programs such as Denver Voice are a means to an end for many. The enlightening monthly street paper has so far employed over 4,000 of Denver’s homeless. Under this indigent vendor program, the publication is purchased for 50 cents and sold for $2.00. (When you are out and about in Denver and see a vendor, go grab one!) Let’s not forget about the four-legged,  essential companions of the homeless who need help. Peace, Love & Paws provides non-profit veterinarian services and is actively advocating for and educating on the Fair Housing Act and Colorado Disability Law regarding the companion animals so many cannot live without.

Let’s all work together to get people out of tents and into homes.

… Andrea

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Andrea Webber

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