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Don’t empower the homeless lifestyle

by Brad Abell, Randy Brodehl and Pam Holmquist
| January 24, 2023 12:00 AM

We, the Flathead County Board of Commissioners, are addressing the community after receiving numerous complaints of an increasing and distressing problem in our valley. The Flathead Beacon recently reported that Kalispell has the second highest number of homeless in the state. If we continue to enable the homeless population, then those numbers will increase.

The simple truth is that providing homeless infrastructure has the predictable consequence of attracting more homeless individuals to our community. When a low barrier shelter opened in our community, we saw a dramatic increase in homeless individuals. Using social media and smartphones, these wanderers are well-networked and eager to share that Kalispell has “services” to serve their lifestyle. Make no mistake, it is a lifestyle choice for some. In fact, many of the homeless encountered in our parks, streets and alleys consist of a progressive networked community who have made the decision to reject help and live unmoored. Although well intended, facilities that offer only shelter, and no accountability, exacerbate the problem.

Therefore, it is our hope that our community will be unified in rejecting all things that empower the homeless lifestyle. Many times, that spare change that you give to the homeless individual standing at the intersection is used for drugs and alcohol. We are asking our peers serving on city councils to not permit or expand warming shelters that bring more of these homeless individuals to our community.

We believe that hard conversations solve hard problems. We ask members of our community to speak out about their experiences with the homeless. Only together can we make it clear to this networked homeless community that “enough is enough”.

Flathead County Commissioners Brad Abell, Randy Brodehl and Pam Holmquist.

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