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Letter to the Editor: Overwhelmed by rising numbers of homeless - The Gazette

February 27, 2018  |  The Gazette  |  Link to article

Come together on homelessness

I am writing on behalf of the clergy members of the Colorado Springs Faith Table, the local affiliate of Together Colorado. We want to express our support and deep concern regarding the initiatives taken by various governmental and nonprofit organizations, including faith communities, to ameliorate the conditions of homelessness in which hundreds of individuals and families are living.

We are dismayed that the interventions taken to date by various organizations, while certainly helpful to significant numbers of sheltered and unsheltered persons, are being overwhelmed by the rising numbers of homeless persons. It seems that the conditions, programs, and initiatives necessary to reduce their number are ill-equipped to effect substantive reductions. The final numbers for the 2018 Community Point-in-Time Survey are not yet available, but there is some indication that the number of homeless persons will exceed the 2017 count of 1,415.

As leaders of religious communities, we urge governmental, business, nonprofit, health care and community leaders to come together to identify and implement coordinated efforts to attend to the conditions and needs that give rise to homelessness. We urge those who are stakeholders in finding solutions to synchronize their efforts to minimize duplication and competition and thereby maximize the effectiveness of otherwise limited human and financial resources.

We also believe that a significant step in this direction could be taken by a deeper commitment to increase substantially the availability of affordable housing. In this belief, we are mindful that government and the local housing and building industry have a paramount role to play.

And just as important, we urge all civic, business, political, nonprofit, health care, and religious leaders to commit to promoting a humane understanding of homelessness and those who are in its grip. As a community known for the strength and diversity of its religious disposition, it behooves us to labor more intentionally toward the goal of becoming a more understanding and compassionate community.

Douglas R. Sharp

Colorado Springs Faith Table