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IQ: No place like home 

Some business owners and shoppers are voicing objections to the growing number of homeless people congregating in the downtown area. But few of us can talk at length about sensible solutions to the problem.

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Tina Gonzalez
Fillmore and I-25

Head Start employee

Have you ever been homeless? No, but for a while my daughter lived a homeless life among some Acacia Park kids, after she took up with a boy and they camped together.

Is homelessness often a lifestyle choice? Sometimes it is, but many homeless live that way through no fault of their own. They should be helped, not judged.

Should local government be addressing this problem? They should exercise compassion, not of out-of-sight-out-of-mind neglect.

What were your thoughts on the proposed city ordinance to ban camping on public grounds? It'll only make things more difficult for people already in a difficult situation.

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Leslie Wolken
Bonnyville

Literary resource teacher

What's the closest you've come to being homeless? For a while after college I had to live with and rely on my parents. Without that support, it might have been tough.

Have you had interactions with the homeless? Mostly through talking to homeless men panhandling in the downtown area. Almost all of them had that rebel attitude of not wanting to conform to societal rules. They didn't strike me as particularly desperate.

Relate your view on the city ordinance that would've banned camping in public areas. I don't support punishing or arresting the homeless. It would be far better to do something like create group homes where people earn their stay by doing community service.

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Don Trujillo
No permanent address

Truck driver

Have you ever been homeless? I have an addiction that's made me homeless several times. I live in the Salvation Army shelter at present.

In your experience, are people homeless more by choice or by misfortune? I'd say it's 50-50. If you're addicted and you put all your money into your addiction instead of into life's necessities, I guess that's a choice.

What role should local government play in this problem? Provide programs that help the homeless instead of enable them.

Do assistance programs help? I've been in three treatment programs for a total of 32 months in the past 10 years. It taught me how to live again — respect people and get the basics of life down pat.

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