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Letters: Help needed for the Bitterroot’s vulnerable residents

Our neighboring community in the Bitterroot has already lost two lives of those displaced and left out in the cold. We can do better than this. We need more support for our most vulnerable Montanans.

These are our veterans, our neighbors, our people. Mayor John Engen and the Missoula City Council need to step up. If they are so serious about helping this population, then they would be doing something to address our community’s disgusting and misguided hatred. How can you expect them to respect a community that dehumanizes, vilifies, and constantly disrespects them?

There are many factors that affect homelessness. Lack of affordable housing, inadequate disability compensation, stagnating wages, inadequate access to harm reduction services and weak social safety nets are just a few of the systemic factors that contribute to the high rate of poverty and homelessness in our State, and Missoula is no exception.

Sure, several may struggle with substance use disorders and behavioral health, but that’s not their fault. Addiction comes from trauma, and these systems in place are continuously retraumatizing individuals. No wonder many feel a need to self-medicate.

Instead of blaming individuals for the system’s failures, how about informing yourselves rather than spew ignorance fueled hate.