Last November, dozens of seniors citizens living at the Emerald Towers apartments were given 2 months notice to permanently vacate. The new building owners wanted to remodel the units and lease them in our competitive rental market.
The move sparked a public outcry, but it also highlighted a deeper economic issue affecting the city: the shortage of affordable housing.
The Colorado Springs Council on Aging is currently gathering feedback from seniors in the community to help City Council make improvements to housing and other local issues.
"We are looking at the kinds of recommendations that we can make to City Council regarding how they could perhaps provide some support for builders and developers so that there may be an opportunity for more affordable housing to be built," said Commission member Lorri Orwig who is also the Chief Development Officer at Silver Key Senior Services.
Silver Key hosted a meet and greet event with the commissioners on Wednesday. Orwig explained that housing is just one of the issues on the table.
"The needs of seniors are not really that different than those of millennials," she said. "They want affordable housing, they want housing that is close to services whether it’s a grocery store or green space, they want transportation that will be accessible."
The City wants its bus service to accommodate senior citizens who may no longer drive, but still need to get around. Decisions about routes and the locations of bus stops all depend on public input.
"We’re really here to provide input from that perspective and to make sure that everyone is having the access that they should have for all of the City services," said Sabrina Cotta, the City Liaison to the Commission.
A second public meeting will be held on Thursday, May 31 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at City Hall 107 N. Nevada Avenue downtown.