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Beaulieu: Transplants and transients are not one in the same for Colorado

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board.

The influx of transplants that flock to Colorado has admittedly had its issues. Creating the rising homeless population isn’t one of them. Mostly, these “transplants” are helping Colorado flourish. The term refers to those of us who aren’t from Colorado, mostly those who’ve come in the last 5 years or so. “The Great Migration,” as some in Colorado have come to call it, has boosted the economy, despite what the homeless population seems to indicate.

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This “Great Migration” is coming to an end, or at the very least, it’s slowing. According to the 2015 census, over 20,000 less people came into Colorado in 2015 than 2014. That’s a relief to people concerned that the number of jobs can’t keep up with the number of people, but that concern is mostly unfounded anyway.

In 2011 economist Patricia Silverstein had this to say about transplants and the near 9% Colorado unemployment rate, “A lot of these folks that came to or stayed in Colorado are trying to make it self-employed. These innovators, these entrepreneurs are the ones who can get the economy running again.”

Silverstien may have been right, as Colorado now has the nations lowest unemployment rate at 2.3%. Some employers are even struggling to find workers.

That may be shocking to some given the, “transient problem,” that has been a pressing issue in Fort Collins. Murder allegations and nuisance incidents have surfaced recently in our transient culture. People need to come to realize when speaking about transplants, that they are not in coalition with transients. Most transplants came here to make something for themselves, whether that was through college or just being in a place that doesn’t persecute them for weed.

“Transients,” came here because the town is wealthy, kind, and has great weather. These people aren’t homeless like the homeless you may see in a big city. They’re vagabonds. They don’t just lack a home and job, they don’t want one.

Tim Dunnigan, who was homeless by choice for around 2 years, made his way from Chicago to Boulder before establishing a residence in Fort Collins. Dunnigan told me, “Boulder is a homeless destination,” because they take such good care of their homeless. Such good care that they, according to Tim, “would almost force me to take new gear from them.”

The transient problem is not an easy problem to solve, of course. There’s really no good way of telling if a person is legitimately homeless because of hardships or if its by choice. Even if you can tell, most people aren’t in a position to really help. I guess you have to go with your gut, but my gut tells me that most people who aren’t already homeless don’t move hundreds of miles to be homeless.

Colorado has it’s issues, like anywhere, but new Coloradans aren’t the root. Many transplants came here to get away from the type of attitudes that come in hand with worrying about where people are from. Transplants have helped improve the economy in recent years. Many of us work hard just to stay above water, its not fair to blame us for those who choose not to.

Mackenzie Beaulieu can be reached at letters@collegian.com on twitter at @macknz_james

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