While officials in Colorado are celebrating the economic and other positive societal impacts marijuana legalization is having on their state, officials at some Denver homeless shelters are claiming that legalization has led to a rise in the number of younger people living on the streets.
The Huffington Post reports that One organization dealing with the increase is Urban Peak. They provide food, shelter and other services to homeless people ages 15 to 24. Deputy director Kendall Rames said that of the new kids checking in, the majority say it’s because of marijuana.
The Salvation Army’s single men’s shelter in Denver has had more homeless this summer and officials have seen an increase in 18- to 25-year-olds checking in. The shelter took care of an average of 225 each night last summer, but this summer it’s averaging 300 people per night.
At the St. Francis Center, pot is the second most frequently volunteered reason for being in Colorado, after looking for work.
Some of the homeless are traveling to the state for jobs, but had felony backgrounds that prevent them from working in pot shops and grow houses. Others find work but don’t earn enough to pay rent in the city’s expensive housing market.