Casper City Council tackling homeless issue
CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Over the past couple of years, homelessness has become a growing issue for Casper. The city is now looking for ways to curb that growth and help people in need.
On Tuesday, Casper City Council held a work session that was open to the public. The first and perhaps most pressing item on the agenda is a recent rise in the homeless population. City Manager Carter Napier says there’s several factors involved.
“The reality is... The problem is so complex, there isn’t a single, silver bullet type (of) answer; to help with the mitigation of homeless issues in our community. Like in any other community.”
In the work session, Casper Mayor Bruce Knell appreciated some of the local social services, but also publicly questioned if there’s more they can... or should... be doing. One service in particular he mentioned was the Wyoming Rescue Mission.
“The mission has a mixture of programming available for folks,” Napier says. “As well as the need for folks to go out and do what they need to do to be productive throughout the day. And obviously we have mixed results in that regard.”
The Rescue Mission currently serves 125 people needing a place to stay or struggling with addictions. When asked if some residents were forced to leave between the hours of 7 am and 5 pm, Brad Hopkins had this to say. “Everybody’s allowed to stay. It just depends on their unique circumstances and plan. We have folks who work overnight, so they need to be in the facility sleeping during the day. Folks do work with a case manager. And they’ll be out in the community connecting to the various services. That type of thing. Because they need to get back up on their feet again.”
Hopkins says the mission serves as a hub to connect those they help to the right people. “So, we’re removing all those barriers, with stability in our shelter. Providing laundry, meals, that type of thing. People are connecting (with) services ranging from Wyoming Workforce to some of the temp agencies. But our doors are open 24/7, 168 hours a week.”
Napier admits homelessness will be a challenge to solve... And the solution won’t happen over night. “We’re trying to be as broad as we can. While not getting so distracted with the host of issues, that we don’t find solutions in the near term, while we work on solutions for the long term.”
This report only scratches the surface of the issue. We will continue to cover the story going forward in the future.
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