It is a problem that isn't always visible. It is a problem that many associate with downtown Denver, instead of the communities to the west, in Jefferson County. It is a problem with many causes — housing, drugs, alcohol, mental health, domestic abuse, neglect... And, it is a problem with no simple solution.Beginning in the spring of 2017 Colorado Community Media began publishing a series of reports that sought to look closer at homelessness in all of its facets. Our reporters looked into the county's lose network of severe weather shelters. Reporter Shanna Fortier reported on a lack of a network and shelter locations in the Arvada area, and later covered the a new network of shelters that sprang up there in time for the winter. Reporters took the time to get to know many of the folks in Jeffco that have struggled with homelessness, giving a face to the problem. Reporter Christy Steadman looked into how violence is both a cause and a consequence to life on the streets. Reporter Clarke Reader worked closely with Lakewood shelters and agencies, chronicling the ongoing struggle to provide shelter and services to Jeffco's neediest. Whether it was talking to a homeless man about a physical altercation, or one of 500 unaccompanied minors in Jeffco, we attempted to tell these stories with both accuracy and empathy. The series has sought to answer important questions about the topic of homelessness: is it growing in Jeffco? How is it affecting the broader community? How are local housing prices affecting things? What resources are available to help? What do the experts say we should do to make things better?There are always more questions to answer, and better answers to be found. Expect to see more coverage on this important topic in the weeks and months to come. And as always, contact us, if you have suggestions about related stories you think should be covered.
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