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Palisade Paw Post

Palisade Paw Post

Homelessness Problems Continue to Grow in the Grand Valley

Hank DeFord
Whitman Park closed to the public.

Homelessness has continued to become a growing issue in the Grand Valley community. Grand Junction and Palisade’s homelessness issues are higher than most other large cities in Colorado. This is a complex problem but how can students here at Palisade help impact those who are less fortunate?

It is estimated that the number of houseless individuals in Grand Junction has risen 49% from 2019 to 2021. As the population of homeless people in the Grand Valley increases it was met with the controversial closure of Whitman Park downtown 2 months ago. Whitman Park was the gathering place for many experiencing housing issues and was the sight of weekly meal distributions. Whitman Park is now fenced off completely and only accessible by event reservations. Grand Junction has hired two people to specifically work on housing issues including homelessness. They also plan to update “the housing needs and assessment and housing strategy” both of which have not been updated since 2019. The city continues to attempt to solve this problem but how can Palisade students help make a difference?

I spoke to Sally DeFord, she volunteers for the organization Solidarity Not Charity. They have provided meals to the homeless every Saturday for over 10 years. SNC’s mission is to advocate for some of our most vulnerable citizens and empower all to seek truth, justice and sustainable holistic solutions for our community and our world. I asked DeFord how Palisade students can make a real difference and help the less fortunate. “Students can volunteer time to serve food and get involved with organizations that help advocate for the homeless community,” says DeFord. “But one of the easiest ways is to look at homeless people in the eyes and smile and say hi. This shows you recognize them as a person and make them feel human.” Although we cannot directly affect the City’s decisions Palisade can help the less fortunate community through compassion and kindness.

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About the Contributor
Hank DeFord, Staff Member
Hey! I’m Hank and this is my first year at the PawPost. This year I’ll be a sophomore. I do Track and Cross Country for Palisade, and I’m also involved in STUCO and FBLA. I love skiing, climbing, and biking. Super excited for this year!
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