Oct 4, 2010 8:28 PM by John Romero

Homeless problem still very real say advocates

Earlier this year, many parts of Colorado Springs looked like a campground on a holiday.  More than 600 homeless people camped along creek beds every night.  In March, that all changed with the city's camping ban. 

Many homeless were moved into motels as part of transitional programs.  "We were able to put people in motels.  As we put them in motels, we had very strict rules for them," explains homeless advocate Bob Holmes with Homeward Pikes Peak.  "The main thing we stresses was getting out and looking for jobs."

The camps may be gone now, but it doesn't mean the problem has gone away.  "I don't think we'll ever get rid of our homeless issue," says Officer Brett Iverson with CSPD's Homeless Outreach Team.  "We're looking at 100-150 homeless still out there that camp out at night."

Many of them are families, too.  "We're seeing an increase in families, women and children in homelessness," says Lyn Harwell with the Springs Rescue Mission.

While most agree that strides have been made, there are still lots of issues to tackle such as housing and a dwindling amount of donations.  "Housing and transitional housing is still a big gap in the community that that we need to look forward to solutions," explains Harwell.  "We're not seeing monetary donations come in." 

"It just seems like for whatever reason, people would rather take a plate of lasagna or a blanket down than to write a check," adds Holmes.

Despite strides toward a solution, the homeless problem doesn't seem to be going away any time soon.  "We still have a long road ahead of us," explains Iverson.  "We're still looking for a lot of support from out homeless providers and the community.  This, by no means, is done."



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