Letter to the editor: Summit County homeless need and deserve more
Homelessness is on the rise in Summit County. Over 15% of the residents are living below the poverty line. As housing prices continue to skyrocket, more people will be forced out of available housing.
As a graduate of Summit High School, I am very familiar with Summit County. It is a beautiful place to grow up, but its beauty comes with a price. The large amount of second homes is increasing housing rates for the working class. According to Head Start’s 2019 Community Assessment, single-family homes sold for over $1 million on average in 2018 in Summit County. Whereas the average household income for the working class is $50,000. This is making it impossible for families to afford housing. Homelessness is only increasing. In the 2018-19 school year, 41 children in Summit School District qualify as homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act. Only seven qualified in the 2012-13 school year.
Even as rates of housing insecurity increase, homelessness remains invisible and often criminalized. However, Summit County is starting to take steps in the right direction. The Good Bridge Community pilot program will allow people to sleep in their cars overnight in a designated parking lot legally. This is revolutionary because it is the first step in decriminalizing homelessness. However, this is not enough. There are virtually no other resources for the homeless in Summit County. Most are told to go down to Denver where there are more resources. Is this for their own good? Or are we, as a community, turning our backs on people in need? Brushing homelessness under the rug will not fix the problem. We’ve tried that and homelessness is only increasing. Peoples’ lives are at stake. We need housing reform.
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