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‘Lack of leadership, compassion astounding’

How disappointing that Durango’s City Council denied funding to Community Compassion Outreach for a winter warming shelter. It demonstrates, yet again, the city’s complete lack of commitment to tackle homelessness.

City Council members have continually asked other organizations (and the county) to step up since “they don’t have the expertise,” and, yet, are now refusing to fund one that is providing shelter and warmth. Comments like the one from Kim Baxter, saying it would be better to serve the unhoused “on an empty piece of land in the middle of nowhere,” illustrate the utter lack of compassion for these people. Baxter continues, “I don’t support it in any neighborhood in our community.”

The NIMBYism is rampant. Too close to a school? The assumption that all unhoused people are criminals is patently false. They are human beings who have experienced traumas and hardships. They are veterans, students, people with disabilities. Local schoolchildren might actually benefit from seeing the reality of the hardships some people face, and a community uniting to support those who need a place to warm up on a cold winter’s day.

Instead, we have the City of Durango more focused on criminalizing the unhoused and denying funds to a small, under-resourced nonprofit that is trying to keep our locals safe. The continued lack of leadership and compassion from these city councilors is astounding. The hypocrisy of claiming others need to lead on this issue, then refusing to fund those who do demonstrates their true intentions.

Claire Ninde