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Lack of affordable housing takes toll on local single-parent households

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COLORADO SPRINGS -

Single-parent households in Colorado Springs are being torn apart due to the lack of affordable housing options.

The alarming trend has the attention of one local organization. The city of Colorado Springs and El Paso County may be dealing with this issue for years to come.

Over the years, Amanda Harders with Ecumenical Social Ministries has seen first hand how single-parent households are struggling to make ends meet.  "Rent prices have gone up by 20 percent in the last two years and wages have only gone up, maybe four percent." 

Many parents are forced to double up with other families or take to the streets, giving up their homes and their children. 

"We're seeing kids that are needing to stay away from their parents for a year or longer until the parents really get back on their feet. Separating is absolutely a trauma that we watch that family go through," Harders explains. 

This is where the Ecumenical Social Ministries come in, providing services like free showers and hygiene items. Harders says she'd much rather see this problem taken care of before getting to this point.

"Once they become homeless, it's over 60 thousand dollars of funds that are required between city services, county resources and non-profit agencies in order to re-stabilize that family."

Colorado Springs City Council President Richard Skorman is also trying to be proactive in this issue, saying keeping people in their homes would help in a major way. "Get them past the emergency that's happening, it's much better to deal with them that way than to deal with them as they are out in the streets or living out of their car."

But right now, the city is running behind on meeting the high demand for more affordable housing units.

"Over the years, we've always had affordable housing issues, we've always had homeless issues, nothing this bad," said Skorman.

The city of Colorado Springs currently has around 800 affordable housing units, as well as emergency funding known ans "transitional funding" to help accommodate displaced residents. 

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