I have a new article about homelessness in Downtown Fargo published in Fargo's alternative weekly newspaper, The High Plains Reader. This issue is very close to my heart.
Here's an excerpt:
A woman spends another restless night shivering on a concrete floor, the only source of comfort a rubber mat, thin scratchy blanket and a lumpy pillow. It offers temporary refuge from the bitter Fargo winter.
A man found passed out in an alley Downtown is whisked away in an ambulance to the ER, then the hospital, to be treated for alcohol poisoning and dehydration. A day later, he is discharged into the street where he drinks more alcohol to quiet the voices he hears because of schizophrenia. As he stumbles down Broadway, a passerby calls police. He is taken to detox, then transported to jail for public intoxication and unpaid fines for petty offenses.
This is the typical vicious cycle of someone struggling with homelessness and alcoholism in Downtown Fargo. The same group of homeless people cycled through the criminal justice system for citations such as loitering, public intoxication, and panhandling. They often were unable to pay their fines.
The community decided to break that cycle with an innovative new approach..