Enormously impressed

I want to compliment Indy reporter Jessica Mayrer on her deliberate and careful characterization of homelessness in Missoula (see “Camp cleanup challenges,” Aug. 1). What could have been a negative and sensational spotlight or a mostly stereotypical and divisive piece on the Reserve Street bridge cleanup and the costs associated with our chronically homeless, instead is an article reporting the facts and serves to educate the public by distinguishing the types and needs of our community’s most vulnerable. All poor people aren’t the same.

In case you missed her piece, “Rough estimates hold that approximately 11 percent of any given homeless population is chronically homeless. Though not representative of the working poor and single mothers that compose the vast majority of people living on the streets, in cars and area encampments, the chronically homeless often suffer from addiction problems and, as such, consume 50 percent or more of all resources dedicated to helping the houseless.”

As someone who has long worked in this area, I am enormously impressed and appreciative. We don’t see it often. It is a fine example of truly responsible journalism.

State Rep. Ellie Hill Missoula

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