Homeless camp clean-ups in Colorado Springs now have an intriguing new element. Several people on the path to getting out of homelessness are joining the team.
The Springs Rescue Mission has what is called a Work Engagement program. It is a process of building work ethic and skills to get out of homelessness. Rescue mission leaders asked Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful to partner in the program. “[There is] so much potential in some of these people,” said Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful, Executive Director, Dee Cunningham.
The work is not all homeless camps, but that is a major portion of the work. It helps individuals with work experience, but also shows the community and others in the homeless community change can happen. "If they see somebody who literally lived in a tent next to them, now earning a living, working forward, hopefully in a platform even toward housing in the future, full time job, they can see that it can be done," said Jeffrey Cook with Springs Rescue Mission.
“We built the shelter not to be a place for everybody to just stay for the rest of their life,” said Cook, “but, to hopefully transition toward something better.” The candidates for the program have already proven themselves on the rescue mission campus — they apply and interview for the job. “ The two folks we just hired are excited, we’re so happy to have them as part of our team,” said Cunningham. If successful the program will expand. The salaries are funded through a grant awarded to Springs Rescue Mission.