Jun 22, 2011 6:38 PM by Stephanie Collins

Colorado Springs needs help getting homeless off the streets

The Express Inn, in Colorado Springs, was forced to close last month. It had provided a place to call home for many homeless people who were forced to leave camps along the creeks two years ago.

With the Express Inn gone many were concerned that the so called tent cities would come back. Police say while the camps haven't returned, they still have a problem, "The biggest issue with getting them off the streets is finding affordable, low income housing, most of our service providers that provide housing are pretty full," explains Officer M.J. Thomson with CSPD's Homeless Outreach Team.

Teresa McLaughlin with Homeward Pikes Peak rents the Aztec Motel so she can provide housing and support to those that are homeless. Right now she has about 92 people, including children, staying at the motel, "Everybody that we put in has to go seek work and do eight hours per week of community service. We provide recreation, case management, we become a support." McLaughlin explains.

McLaughlin is doing what she can do to help as many people as possible but says more housing is desperately needed.

Colorado Springs Police conducted a survey last week, they estimate that there's 120 to 180 people staying on the streets at night. That number is lower than what it was just two years ago, at the height of the tent cities there were 300 to 500 people on the streets.

Police want to remind everyone to donate to homeless service providers in our area so they can provide more housing, don't donate directly to a homeless person. To help, click here to be connected to homeless service providers in the Colorado Springs area.



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