Letter to the Editor: Unsheltered in Summit is here to support local workers

Doug Bair
Unsheltered in Summit

I would like to introduce you to the Unsheltered Summit parking program. We provide safe parking to fellow Summit county residents who work here but need some help to get on their financial feet. They live in their vehicles because they can’t yet afford Summit’s atrocious rent (for example, $1,500 for an efficiency and $4,500 needed for first/last/security deposit).

They are the folks who serve on the ski patrol, serve your meals, drive our buses, work in our stores, answer our office phones, help us get well in the hospital, help our children learn. They are intelligent, respectful, caring and loving. They are folks who have come to the county to help run it, the same as you and me. Some have had to start over financially due to a divorce or have lost their apartment due to rising prices, or have a dream to live here but need time to save for a piece of land. They all just need a little leg up to get to the next rung of the ladder. And if we don’t give that help, we lose valuable employees and neighbors.

We are not a revolving door shelter. We provide a temporary respite while members save money and perfect their life plans. They can then rent a condo, go to employee housing that has opened up while staying with Unsheltered, become entrepreneurs, finish their annual seasonal job to which they’ll return next year (if they have a place to park).

Stereotypes come to mind when the word “homeless” is used. But our members are not here to trash your lawn. They are your neighbors, here to work and ski and develop friendships — just like you.

They only need a little help from friends.

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