Cheyenne will be known as a great and caring city by how we, as individuals, take care of each other, especially those among us who are the weakest, those with the greatest need, those on the margins, the forgotten.
After living in Cheyenne for 45 years, I have experienced many times the depth of caring among my fellow citizens. Even more, I have witnessed a consistent willingness to do something about those among us who are on the margins and need significant help.
This concern, care and kindness is revealed by folks every day. They make the time to volunteer and generously provide ongoing financial support for a multitude of worthy organizations seeking to take care of the less fortunate in our midst.
We are now challenged to take on the needs of the homeless, which are multifaceted and can be daunting to address. Homelessness will persist unless we address the root causes: safe, affordable housing; job training for a livable wage; safe, affordable child care for homeless families/single parents; mental health services; substance abuse resources and reliable transportation.
There is the potential for key agencies and organizations to accept the challenge to quickly come together as never before to provide robust, not-duplicated services in a central hub.
We have proven the powerful potential of the fifth- and sixth-penny sales tax to make significant improvements in infrastructure and facilities in our community. I challenge us to focus now on critical human needs and related facility projects, beginning with a comprehensive homeless shelter with related services as noted in the Marbut consultant’s report.
Yes, the needs of the homeless could be discouraging, but the resources, concern and resolute commitment of our community are no match, if we have the will.
I believe in the capacity of my fellow citizens to recognize the critical human needs of the homeless in our community, and to be creatively resolute in meeting those needs. I am aware of major, successful efforts to end homelessness in Denver, Salt Lake City and Atlanta. We can join them. Let’s make it happen and put an end to homelessness in Cheyenne.