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  • Nowhere To Go

    A letter from the editor of 5280's October 2020 issue.

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    The hardships of experiencing homelessness are myriad and obvious, but the events of this past spring and summer have only served to exacerbate those difficulties. Set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing social unrest, extreme heat and poor air quality from wildfires arrived in the Mile High City in August, only to be followed by a cold snap in early September. For the nearly 6,000 unhoused people in Denver, the city’s response to the pandemic—including forcibly sweeping encampments throughout the summer—fell far short. Starting this past spring, senior staff writer Robert Sanchez immersed himself in the lives of the residents of a series of Capitol Hill encampments. His affecting report, “What It’s Like to Experience Homelessness During a Global Pandemic,” illuminates the unvarnished details—the struggles of finding food and fulfilling essential needs, including access to toilets and water—of what it’s like to live on the streets. “The pandemic has made it easy to focus on ourselves and the challenges we’re facing in our lives, but thousands of people here are living with the COVID-19 threat without the basic necessities that make all of us feel human,” Sanchez says. “I wanted to find the humanity within each of them as they lived through this global crisis.” As we move toward winter and flu season—and as the coronavirus continues to spread and wreak havoc on the services unhoused people rely on—local leaders don’t yet have a coherent plan to protect those experiencing homelessness. Sanchez’s story shows why that should be unacceptable to all of us.

    ELECTION 2020

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