Posts Tagged ‘Homeless’
by Matt Singer
If you haven’t yet, take five minutes and read Tristan Scott’s deeply moving story about the life and untimely death of Forrest Clayton Salcido, a homeless veteran in Missoula who was viciously murdered a week ago.
The death so far seems to have been the focus more of quiet conversations than of a unified community response. Why? My guess is that the story itself has put a lot of us locals in a state of mild shock. It’s breath-taking in its exposure of how truly evil people can be in their actions.
I can’t promise or reveal much yet, except to say that a bigger community response is now in the works — and that hopefully those of us involved in it can find a way to do justice to Forrest’s life and his tragic death.
In the meantime, the Poverello Center has launched an endowment to help homeless veterans like Forrest.
You can donate online — make sure you specify that your gift is for the endowment.
I contacted Ellie Hill, the Executive Director of Missoula’s Poverello Center, and received her permission to repost her comment as a way to promote awareness on the problems veterans face.
Once again, I urge everyone to support the Poverello in any way they can… Donations can be made by clicking here, and those with spare time and tight budgets can volunteer by calling the Poverello’s Volunteer Coordinator, Brady Warren, at 728-1809.
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I knew Forrest Clayton Salcido. He was gentle, and while small in statue, huge in heart. Mr. Salcido was brutally murdered as he desperately tried to flee his attackers. I was so ill this morning that I almost could not leave the house, but here I write from my cluttered desk at the Pov.
1 in 4 homeless people in the United States are veterans (while veterans make up only 11 percent of the general adult population).
Your homeless veterans in Missoula are no different. (And, actually here it may be worse as the State of Montana has the highest number of veterans per capita in the nation.)
At the Poverello Center, Western Montana’s largest emergency homeless shelter and soup kitchen, we serve hundreds and hundreds of homeless vets each year. There are many vets sleeping in our overcrowded bunks each and every night, 365 nights a year. They are men and women from all branches of services and representing many different wars. Elderly and middle aged men are most common. Many folks suffer from mental illness and physical disabilities. Some have only recently lost their jobs or their families. Some have been injured on the job, and they don’t have medical coverage. Their car has broken down. Some are much more down and out. They all have amazing life stories. Their problems are often complex.
At the Pov we are seeing an alarming trend in the number of younger homeless veterans. Younger veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, turning to the Poverello Center’s VA sponsored Homeless Vets Program for necessary services, mainstream resources, treatment and job assistance.
I am writing because this trend does not bode well for our future.
By Jamee Greer
(While many members of Missoula’s community enjoy the benefits of warm homes in the winter and luxuries like wireless internet access, we should remember that some others do not. Support Missoula’s homeless shelter, the Poverello. Donations can be made by clicking here, and those with spare time and tight budgets can volunteer by calling the Poverello’s Volunteer Coordinator, Frankie Feinstein, at 728-1809.)
I had no idea how popular this blog was until I made the original post. Between the fact that readership tripled on Monday and the almost two dozen people on campus who thanked me for writing the post, I’m still a little stunned.
I’m known for being sarcastic, but often only to get my point across—and usually regarding an injustice. When I sat down at the coffee shop last weekend to write this, I wanted to instigate discussion. I wanted folks to begin communicating about the ramifications we face, for better or worse, as our magnanimous city evolves.
Folks might say that’s idealistic, or that I’m just bitter over loosing my apartment to gentrification this fall. Truth be told, I’m a little of both. But I’d rather use that idealism and bitterness to focus my energy on social change in my twenties—rather than bottle it in until my seventies and regret that I hadn’t done something when I still could. My argument—and I assume the arguments of many others who commented on Missoula’s new social club—aren’t naïve or nostalgic. It’s a shared fear that the city we’ve embraced as home is changing and we’re at a precarious point where our voices, planning and politics will determine the future of Missoula.
Really what we have here is a fantastic social experiment in twenty-first century conversation, a community expressing their trepidations, frustrations and support for fellow Missoulians. We here at 4and20blackbirds thought it might be wise to do a follow up post and include clips of comments from the original entry for folks to use in furthering greater conversation.
“Let’s quit mourning the loss of Jays, go to a Poverello hosted Rock Raiser at the Badlander and move on with our lives.”
“I helped run Jay’s for the last three years of it’s existence. Jay’s was a lot of things. It was extremely dirty and worn down but it was also an amazing place that helped form some of the best local acts to ever play in this town.”
“But now there are other venues that can take its place and offer so much more, like the Badlander. The beat goes on!”
Rebecca, moderator, 4and20blackbirds