Traveler's Aid Fund in Grand Junction

Traveler's Aid Fund in Grand Junction

By Evan Vann

The city of Grand Junction has organized a Traveler's Aid Fund to ease the city’s homelessness problem. 

Officer David Keech of the GJPD Community Resource Unit said that the goal of the fund is to provide assistance to homeless individuals who find themselves stranded in the Grand Junction area. The fund helps an individual buy a bus ticket out of town to a destination where he or she can receive further help. The program received a $2,000 donation from the city as seed money, but is otherwise funded solely on donations from individuals and businesses in the community. 

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Little Junction in GJ

Last month, Grand Junction residents protested a decision by the city to change Colorado West Park, known locally as the “wedge,” into a median. The decision will impact the homeless in Grand Junction, where it is illegal to panhandle in medians.

Homeless advocates, many of whom for safety reasons supported the law prohibiting panhandling in medians, told reporters in June that they were going to fight the city’s decision to convert West Park into a median. They say there was no public input before the Grand Junction officials re-oriented the park as a median.

According to local news sources, the city says nothing illegal was done because the area of land in question was never officially a park, it was just commonly referred to as one. The land in question is located at the junction of two state highways.

News Briefs: Grand Junction Receives Stimulus Money to Help Homeless Students

Published September 2009 Vol. 13 Issue 8

Grand Junction’s school district, District 51, will receive an $80,000 grant to help homeless students. The district’s REACH program (Resources, Education and Advocacy for Children who are Homeless) will use the money to send certified teachers to six district schools to tutor homeless students.

The district, which served 478 homeless students last year, selected schools with the highest concentrations of homeless students. Recently, District 51 has seen a major increase in homeless students. There were twice as many students classified as homeless in the district for the 2008/2009 school year than there were for the previous year. Because the district will actually be receiving more money than it requested, Cathy Haller, District 51 prevention services coordinator, is waiting for approval from the state to send certified teachers to two more high schools.

—Sarah Harvey

News Briefs: Grand Junk Shun

Published August 2009 Vol. 13 Issue 7

Grand Junction saw an increase in homeless camps this year, some of them outside the usual areas along riverbanks, islands and bridges. In May, crews made up of jail inmates disposed of 15 of the camps and nine truckloads of trash in a vacant area of private property. Grand Junction Neighborhood Services, which is responsible for disposing of the camps, cites prevention of the spread of disease as the main reason for the cleanup.

The Rescue Mission of Grand Junction has 39 beds. The Homeward Bound Homeless Shelter has 87 beds during the winter months, and was just approved to increase their size to 130 beds; summer capacity is limited to 45.Homeward Bound in Grand Junction has said that more homeless people have been requesting service this year, and they have seen an increase in families with children needing help. Shelter demand in the city is outpacing supply.

—Sarah Harvey