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Local, state and national lawmakers continue to eliminate or cut back on programs that aid those on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder. Should we ignore the homeless problem or decide how best to alleviate it? (For more, read the cover story beginning on page 16.)
click to enlarge Shari Blackmon -  - Downtown Psychiatrist Has anyone you've - known ever - become homeless? I treated the homeless mentally - ill - when I lived in New York City. They became homeless - because of their illness and the lack of community - services to support them. -  - Is homelessness a choice? Sometimes - individuals can't - afford housing because they spend their money on drugs - and don't seek services to get off drugs. In that case, it - may be a choice. But statistics show that about a third of - the homeless  are mentally ill. It's not their fault they're - mentally ill. -  - What is the main cause of homelessness? Lack - of - affordable housing. Also, mental illness and  substance - abuse. Colorado provides hardly any treatment for that. -  - Does the government have a responsibility in this - area? It - does, because homelessness is a huge problem for the - community at large. -  - Name a public figure for whom being homeless for a - month would be highly educational.  Donald - Trump, - because he's so rich and thinks he knows everything - about the problem.
  • Shari Blackmon

    Downtown

    Psychiatrist

    Has anyone you've known ever become homeless? I treated the homeless mentally ill when I lived in New York City. They became homeless because of their illness and the lack of community services to support them.

    Is homelessness a choice? Sometimes individuals can't afford housing because they spend their money on drugs and don't seek services to get off drugs. In that case, it may be a choice. But statistics show that about a third of the homeless are mentally ill. It's not their fault they're mentally ill.

    What is the main cause of homelessness? Lack of affordable housing. Also, mental illness and substance abuse. Colorado provides hardly any treatment for that.

    Does the government have a responsibility in this area? It does, because homelessness is a huge problem for the community at large.

    Name a public figure for whom being homeless for a month would be highly educational. Donald Trump, because he's so rich and thinks he knows everything about the problem.

click to enlarge Jeannie Wright -  - Just moved to town Stay-at-home mom Is - homelessness - a choice? Initially, probably not. But it is if you - choose to - stay in the situation. It's a person-to-person thing. -  - What is the main cause of homelessness? No - money, not - having a job. -  - Should the government help the homeless? - That's a hard - question, but probably not. We already have shelters, - and it's we, as taxpayers, who pay  for any help the - government gives [the homeless]. But then again, I don't - want them not to have any help. -  - How can homelessness be remedied? More - jobs and job - training. People in that situation need help getting back - to being whole people who can function in regular - society. -  - What public figure would learn a lot from being - homeless - for a month? [Former Mayor] Mary Lou Makepeace. - She - needs to be kicked off her high horse.
  • Jeannie Wright

    Just moved to town

    Stay-at-home mom

    Is homelessness a choice? Initially, probably not. But it is if you choose to stay in the situation. It's a person-to-person thing.

    What is the main cause of homelessness? No money, not having a job.

    Should the government help the homeless? That's a hard question, but probably not. We already have shelters, and it's we, as taxpayers, who pay for any help the government gives [the homeless]. But then again, I don't want them not to have any help.

    How can homelessness be remedied? More jobs and job training. People in that situation need help getting back to being whole people who can function in regular society.

    What public figure would learn a lot from being homeless for a month? [Former Mayor] Mary Lou Makepeace. She needs to be kicked off her high horse.

click to enlarge Deirdre Gilbert -  - Downtown Retired teacher -  - Have you ever known someone who is homeless? - I've - known people who were homeless because they lost - jobs, and because they were mentally ill. -  - Is homelessness a choice? Some homeless - people - probably just don't want  the responsibilities that go with - having a home, but most homeless people have  a - mental illness. -  - Is it the government's responsibility to help them? -  Yes, - because many  of them are unable to take care of - themselves. That's how we'll ultimately be - judged as a society. -  - Name someone who should be homeless for a - month to - experience what it's like. George Bush. He lacks the - empathy he should have for people less fortunate than - him.
  • Deirdre Gilbert

    Downtown

    Retired teacher

    Have you ever known someone who is homeless? I've known people who were homeless because they lost jobs, and because they were mentally ill.

    Is homelessness a choice? Some homeless people probably just don't want the responsibilities that go with having a home, but most homeless people have a mental illness.

    Is it the government's responsibility to help them? Yes, because many of them are unable to take care of themselves. That's how we'll ultimately be judged as a society.

    Name someone who should be homeless for a month to experience what it's like. George Bush. He lacks the empathy he should have for people less fortunate than him.

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