Homelessness on the Rise in Mesa County

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - "How can one perceive forward if they don't know how to deal and cope with what is going on."

Confused and hopeless. This is how Mesa County Resident Scott Dunn feels when faced with his harsh reality of being homeless - but he's not the only one.

"We've seen an uprising trend in homelessness over the past five years. There's been a 30% increase in Mesa County alone," said Heather Ripley, Director for HomewardBound.

However, when normally asked about his situation, Dunn takes a different approach.

"I don't mind it," said Dunn.

His routine every single day remains the same.

"Wake up. Get a cup of coffee from the shelter. Shower. Come out and show my sign to make enough to get something to eat," said Dunn.

Yet why would someone choose to be homeless? Those with the local shelter say it's much more complex.

"Some people just want to live off of the grid. Sometimes with that there can be issues of drug and alcohol abuse," said Ripley.

In addition, there are other things that play a factor.

"I've been trying to apply for a lot of jobs but it's been hard because of the felonies I have on my record," said Dunn.

"Some people do make mistakes in life. Unfortunately those mistakes will follow you and stay on your record," said Ripley.

Though once a fan of living without boundaries, Dunn said his outlook has changed.

"I'm trying to get into rehab. I know I need counseling. I plan on doing that too," said Dunn.

All in all, he said he encourages people to keep this in mind.

"Walk a mile in a homeless man's shoes before you judge him."

For more information on how you can help with this epidemic, you're encouraged to reach out to HomewardBound of the Grand Valley. More information can be found on their website.


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