Letters to the editor
Craig won’t benefit from a homeless shelter
This past Monday evening I, along with other business owners attended the meeting at the Chamber of Commerce regarding the potential homeless shelter that is intended to be placed in the old Cashway/Furniture Connection building. This is the third meeting I have attended recently, each of these meetings were designed to be informational only. This particular meeting was only scheduled for thirty minutes. At the first meeting I was totally shocked and dismayed when Karen from Homeward Bound of Mesa County rushed down the isle and put a finger in the face of a gentleman, and told him that he didn’t “Know what he was talking about”, when he simply stated that he didn’t feel a homeless shelter was needed in Craig. She had to be ask to ‘Get out of his face.” Her lack of professionalism was astounding.
This last meeting the organizers did allow comment, the 30-minute meeting turned into almost three hours. During the meeting it became very obvious that the organizers really don’t care about the concerns of this community. They have the grant money and will move forward with the project! One business representative stated that should the Homeless Shelter move next door to her business that she may have to close and put 21 people out of work. Customers have already told her that they will not feel safe being in proximity to a homeless shelter. To this, Ms. Wood, the Executive Administrator of the proposed facility responded: “Surely the social aspect of this will offset the cost to the community.”
The Homeward Bound Representatives that will be helping monitoring this shelter have pointed to the successes they have had in Grand Junction. They said that they just keep building capacity in Grand Junction and the homeless just keep coming. Their success can be seen by the number of homeless that have taken over the parks/downtown Grand Junction, panhandlers on the streets, and the blight created for the business and neighborhoods surrounding their facilities. Is this really what we want for Craig?
This Homeless shelter in Craig would have never received the grant money that it did if it were not for The Moffat County Commissioners signing a letter of support for the grant on February 16, 2021. In defense of the Commissioners; I don’t think that they were presented accurate information that this would be a regional shelter to take in the homeless from Routt and Rio Blanco counties, and a region that extends to Grand Junction. At the meeting on Monday evening, Commissioner Villard was adamant that the Commission had never signed a letter of support for this grant. When the letter was produced, it was obvious that she did not understand what the letter stated and that she had signed!
Initially this was planed as a homeless shelter for anyone; the organizers have now decided to say that it would be for families only. I believe that this is a half-hearted effort at pulling at the heartstrings of the community and making the project more palatable. The problem with this is that the grant they were awarded clearly states that this is for “Individuals and families”.
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I would ask that the Moffat County Commissioners consider revisiting this subject, and possibly rescind their letter of support. The need for a homeless shelter is much greater in Steamboat Springs right now, this is regional money, distribute the money where the need is the greatest. When this was suggested, Ms. Wood’s comment was “If you all don’t want it here, they sure the hell won’t want it in Steamboat Springs.”
John Ponikvar, Craig
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