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Madisons' increasingly visible homeless population, drug abuse and trafficking with community blight and crime--became the focal point of City Council meeting August 21st.

City and County residents asked for more help in dealing with an issue that they believe is leading to community blight and crime and making residents feel less safe in their homes, much less walking the streets at night.

Nobody knows for sure how many people in Madison/Jefferson County are the " invisible people, hidden homeless." Many of our homeless people live in places we do not see; they often are sleeping in the woods, campgrounds, cars, abandoned farm buildings, or other places not intended for habitation. The homeless are often hidden, out of sight and mind, hard to reach and hard to help.

This poses a challenge for Madison. The causes of homelessness: poverty, mental illness, inadequate housing, domestic violence, substance abuse and the psychological wounds of war. In Madison some are more likely to be poor, with limited transportation, making it that much harder for the homeless to get to a center that can provide counseling, housing or medical care.

Our homeless live on the streets, in the alleys, in the woods in tents or in campers, in barns and or abandoned sheds. They crash on a friend's couch. Or they're living in a shack with no heat electricity or running water-- usually not far from where they were born and raised. Many of them are underemployed. There are a lot of families with children that don't have their own homes knowing not where they will sleep tonight.

Yes, they are "our homeless"; we have to take ownership of out neglect.

There's not really a system for dealing with homelessness here in our city / county. The homeless say that even when services are available, they are tough to access.

Predictors of homelessness: such as substance abuse, mental illness, low wages or no work at all contributes to our homelessness. Those who experience homelessness report higher rates of alcohol abuse and domestic violence, mental illness and drug abuse..

One of the most important strategies in ending Madison's homelessness is prevention. Preventing the occurrence of homelessness is the most economic way of ending homelessness.

Bottom line if you don't want people sleeping on the street and park benches --- Simple solution - give them a place to sleep.

Of course, we have limited funding providing people at risk of homelessness with prevention services. If you have any ideas or thoughts on how to overcome, please share with us...

A wise man once said every society is judged by
how it treats it's least fortunate amongst them.

Hometown Hero - Guardian of Freedom click here

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