Here I Stand --By Randle Loeb

Submitted by Jose Torres-Vega on December 28, 2017 - 1:13pm


What we know is that many are suffering, that we who are privileged have a responsibility for there to be equity for all life in our community.

Reading 232 names of those who perished in 2017, for whatever reason, is an unrelenting hardship for those who feel as though there is no salutary place for them to stay and prosper.  It does not matter what their circumstances are, just as in Puerto Rico, during Katrina, in the midst of disasters for which the American Red Cross was designated as a national charity, or for any person driving along the highways who has a rest stop available and the sense that they feel safe.

We are all culpable for neglecting to provide a safe place just as Joseph and Mary stayed in a manger in Bethlehem, according to the saga, we must provide distinct, irrefutable choices for everyone who is in need in 6-degree weather or when it is 120 degrees in the shade.  We're responsible for providing options that are safe and salutary for every special circumstance and value that is shared by the vulnerable people who are in a dangerous public place.  These opportunities were provided in 1999 when I was on the street and 7 people were murdered. I lived at the Standish Hotel during Thanksgiving when there was snow everywhere and temperatures were dangerous.  Having a Blue Code is not an imposition on a person's freedom, it is indicative of a community that is caring and compassionate, responds to the special circumstances of the person with dignity and grace.

No measure of a society's development is clearer than when Public Safety is equitable and inclusive.  The Catholic Worker House embodied this spirit. It is time for the regional plan of the Front Range, the COGs, all of the partners throughout the state recognized that being on the street in public spaces is the same as a disaster, for which the Red Cross is mobilized.  People have to stop relying on individual faith organizations for providing these services.  I want to dwell in a community that says that, "no day or night is acceptable for a person to be in harm's way."

The burden of the cost of this service delivery must be shared by all members of the community, through generous corporate structured giving, through foundations and partners in public and private as we once directed funding through the shared funding resources committee of Denver's Road Home.  What will the costs be that we have to bear to prevent and end this neglect, millions of dollars annually?

In Quebec City, Canada I once visited a program that was for Injection Drug users and those who had overdosed at that moment that they were in jeopardy.  The program had professional care workers 24/7 to support the patients and when they were stable a transfer was made to a place on another floor where the people could continue their treatment.  We have to provide a range of options that suit families, youth, loved ones, people in all straits and that is responsive through trauma care for the person being able to remain in a place that is safe and stable, where the person feels is responsive to their predicament.

Anything less means that more and more of us will die where there was a way to comfort the person and save their lives.

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