No help for homeless vets

One thing appears certain with regard to the Grand Junction City Council’s attitude toward the homeless problem.

Council members are more interested in regulating panhandlers than helping homeless veterans get off the streets.

On Monday, the council pulled an about-face and refused to pay development fees — which it had done twice before — for a third Catholic Outreach housing project.

By a 4-3 vote, the council sent Sister Karen Bland, Catholic Outreach executive director, a simple message: Your work isn’t important to us.

The council’s refusal to honor its historic support of the project causes two problems. First, it puts Catholic Outreach in a cash crunch and, second, it jeopardizes its ability to compete for future grants. Sister Karen said donors usually want assurances that the local government has buy-in for these projects.

The council’s decision (technically, it placed Catholic Outreach’s $110,000 request on hold) comes at a time when the city is projecting year-end cash reserves in excess of $19 million.

“You cannot end homelessness without homes,” Sister Karen said. If the council truly wants to affect how the homeless population interacts with the general public, it’ll rethink its stance on the issue.


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The city council would rather pander to the elitists to insure their re-election by supporting the Avalon than to help the men and women in need in our community, many which served in the armed services. Where is the moral justification in that? S. Price

Today’s Sentinel editorial – “No help for homeless vets” – offers a sad commentary on our “conservative” community’s real attitude toward this Nation’s military veterans – homeless or not.

On February 27, 2014, Senate Republicans filibustered a Veterans bill that would provide increased medical, dental, and educational benefits to many of our 22 million veterans.

“Conservatives” claimed that we can’t afford the $21 billion price tag for the bill, even though most of those monies had already been appropriated (but not expended) for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – where thousands of intended beneficiaries bravely served.

The real reason for the Republicans’ shameful filibuster was Democrats’ refusal to add increased economic sanctions against Iran to the bill.  Thus, the same “conservatives” who routinely rattle their sabers – and thereby move us closer to another war and thus more veterans – refuse to fulfill their commitments to those who loyally fulfilled the missions necessitated by our blunder (perpetrated by the same “NeoCons”) into Iraq.

Apparently, the Grand Junction City Council is more concerned about allowing our town to become a “magnet” for panhandlers rather than demonstrating reciprocal loyalty to the brave men and women whose lives were at least interrupted – if not shattered – by their voluntary military service.

However, because we also host one of the finest Veterans Medical Centers in the Nation, Grand Junction will always be a “magnet” for veterans – including those who are forced by financial circumstances or whose compromised mental health causes them to “chose” to live on the streets and/or under bridges.

Apparently, the “conservative” majority on our City Council is simply following Senate Republicans’ lead in arguing that “we can’t afford” another $110,000 to support and expand Sister Bland’s already successful project to provide affordable shelter to homeless veterans, despite our projected $19 million year-end cash reserve.

Shame on us!

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