Why We Need Lockers

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Fort Collins is considering installing 20 lockers at the Mennonite Fellowship: http://www.coloradoan.com/story/news/2017/11/26/lockers-homeless-controv...

We need adequate, accessible storage in our community.

A person experiencing homelessness must carry most of what they need at all times. This can be an intensely heavy burden, both physically and emotionally.

Adequate storage options are essential for health, stability, and human dignity. Safely-stored belongings leave a person more able to attend to other needs, including finding a place to call home.

Storage increases mobility. Secure lockers free a person to move about the city, to access more services, to interview for jobs or other opportunities, to visit businesses, and more.

People treat you differently when you are carrying a lot of stuff. Some stores won't even let you inside, leaving you choosing between keeping your things safe, or buying something you need (like food).

Carrying a lot of belongings can make a person a target of stigma, harassment, and even anti-homeless violence. When the National Coalition on Homelessness studied crime reports, they found that more hate crimes are committed against homeless people than against all protected groups combined. (http://nationalhomeless.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Hate-Crimes-2013-...)

Stigma against people carrying large loads is so pervasive that even our City government has proposed treating people differently for carrying personal property - last year's proposed sit-lie ban contained a provision that would have made it a crime to have more "attended property" than a person can carry, like a cart filled with personal belongings, or heavy luggage. This provision was one reason that the ACLU of Colorado called the law "one of the most outrageous, cruel and absurd examples that we have seen yet of a proposed ordinance clearly targeting unhoused persons."

Most jobs don't allow people to store large amounts of personal stuff. So 24/7 lockers can help people find and keep jobs. (example: lockers that enable a person working 12 hour shifts to store clean clothes and other necessities will help that person keep their job, save their money, and increase their options)

Winter weekends in Fort Collins can include four-season weather. That's a lot of stuff to carry.

Realistically, people are already meeting their storage needs in the ways currently available to them. For some, that means storing personal belongings in public spaces, or even hiding them on private property. Lockers are a more secure option, and also help keep stuff out of other spaces.

Things that we know lockers will bring to the Mennonite parking lot:
-- improved lighting
-- security camera
-- more secure/contained personal storage

If this project is successful, organizations in other parts of town may decide to try similar things, leading to a decentralized storage system with many benefits.

Homeless people are a part of this neighborhood, and a part of the Fort Collins community.

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