Local shelter and police department address homelessness in the valley

Reporter Cristian Sida looks into the myriad of influences contributing to the Grand Junction homelessness crisis.
Published: Oct. 1, 2022 at 9:06 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - We told you how Grand Junction closed two Whitman Park restrooms at ten to cut down on vandalism. Workers brought in two portapotties for overnight use but catch this so far, city taxpayers have shelled out $30,000 to clean up damage and vandalism at parks citywide.

Grand Valley Catholic Outreach and the Grand Junction Police Department said homelessness is a complicated issue, but they’re working alongside other organizations to lessen the homeless population in the valley.

“You know, we’re not trying to change people. We’re trying to offer opportunities,” said Beverly Lampley, outreach director of development and communications for Grand Valley Catholic Outreach.

To those who are without a place to call home. “We help everyone,” added Lampley. “There are no barriers to who we help.”

GJPD said they’re involved with those who live on the streets. “So we’re out a lot with the homeless; we go to most of the parks daily, talk to him, see how they’re doing, and also enforce any, you know, criminal issues that need to be enforced,” said Sgt. Stan Ancell.

Police received several complaints about the parks in the valley. “It ranges from, you know, alcohol complaints, drug complaints, assaults, thefts, you name it, it, it runs the gamut.

Since January, the department has received 792 calls for service, not all related to homelessness from incidents happening at city parks. The City of Grand Junction does have a camping ordinance, but it doesn’t apply to the parks. “But once they close, nobody can use the parks at night, and that is enforced, but it’s enforced as trespassing, not camping,” said Ancell.

For now, the outreach, the police department, and others involved are in search of a solution to a problem with no end in sight.

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