The homeless problem is very complicated and many contrasting opinions about it have been expressed in The Durango Herald. I am among those who do not wish to find someone sleeping on my porch or defecating in my yard. However, I am also among those who do not want to see people freeze or starve to death.
So I propose that the city identify a temporary facility, such as the fairgrounds, to be used for sleeping while we identify a site for a managed camp, build and staff it. If there were a fire or flood, which displaced many of our citizens, we would open gymnasiums, the Exhibit Hall and other locations to provide temporary lodging. Why are we doing less for our unhoused neighbors?
For a more permanent solution, I suggest that a tiny house village, such as those currently operating in Madison, Wis., Portland, Ore., and Austin, Texas, be built to suit those unhoused people with varying needs and capabilities. Having an individual address provides a sense of ownership and self-esteem.
I believe the City Council must form a committee in partnership with those community entities devoted to mitigating homelessness, set a firm timeline, identify a location and funding, and put maximum effort into what our citizens have over and over told Durango is a pressing need.
Can we agree that this is more important than building pickleball courts or pursuing an unpopular revamping of our downtown area?