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Homelessness still a very real issue in Marquette County

Sleeping outside in the elements can be a fun experience — if you’re camping, and you’ve got all the necessary gear and a nice summer breeze is rolling through the trees. That and a campfire and a few hotdogs can make for a pretty pleasant evening.

But what if you’re sleeping outside on the streets in the middle of November?

Unlike camping, being homeless is not an experience we would consider to be fun. Maybe you’re not even sleeping outside, but staying at a friend’s house, or a few friends’ homes and hauling your belongings from place to place every day or so and “couch surfing,” as it’s called. Still doesn’t sound like much fun does it?

Thankfully, our community — through Room at the Inn and a group of dedicated churches — has some established services to help those in need of a place to stay overnight. But more can still be done.

It’s National Homelessness Awareness Week and some people locally have come together to inspire community action by creating a list they’ve called “Daily Do Goods.” That list includes things folks can do each day of the week to address the homelessness situation here in the Marquette area.

Featured in a Monday story by Journal Staff Writer Cecilia Brown, the list includes suggested books and websites people can read to gain perspective on homelessness, as well as visiting a display at the Peter White Public Library that offers information on the subject.

Among the other tasks included in the Daily Do Goods list is a clothing drive taking place Wednesday at the Room at the Inn Warming Center, located at 447 W. Washington St., Marquette, and Lutheran Social Services, at 1029 N. Third St., Marquette.

The community is encouraged to “put those extra and unused coats, snow pants, gloves, hats and scarves to good use keeping people warm and dry this winter,” organizers said for the story.

New and used backpacks and rope sacks will also be collected all week at Lutheran Social Services, and high-need pantry items for the Janzen House, the Warming Center, Lutheran Social Services’ Welcome Home program and the Women’s Center are being sought. Some examples of those items are portable snack foods, toilet paper, tissues, paper towels and staple foods like peanut butter, jelly and coffee.

For more information on how you can help, check out Monday’s edition of the Journal or view the story online at: https://bit.ly/2XrvodW

Ending homelessness can’t be done overnight, but there are some things we can do to immediately improve the situation right here in our own community. We encourage you to do just that.