COLORADO SPRINGS – The city of Colorado Springs is looking to add more than 350 beds to two of its homeless shelters.
This proposal comes after four homeless people died this past winter, from weather-related causes.
“We don’t want people freezing to death out there in the winter.”
A “Point in time” count found homelessness is up almost 10% from last year.
If also showed more than 500 people were unsheltered, on a night where the only low barrier shelter in town was at capacity.
On Monday, city officials discussed using $500,000 from the general fund to pay for 370 low barrier shelter beds.
Skorman says the ordinance would be beneficial for more than just the homeless population.
“We have 1,550 homeless people and it’s growing. It’s impacting neighborhoods. We can’t enforce our camping ban. This is really a public safety issue–not only for the public, but for the homeless as well,” he told News5.
Skorman says this past winter, city police weren’t able to enforce the no camping ordinance because Springs Rescue Mission was at max capacity.
“This should help with that issue,” he said on Monday.
Low barrier beds are open to anyone–regardless of whether they’re sober when they come into the shelter
Springs Rescue Mission, which is already a low barrier shelter, would add 150 beds.
And, Salvation Army would become a low barrier shelter–converting 220 beds, and adding 40 family beds.
“The city is taking this seriously,” said Homeless Prevention and Response Coordinator Andrew Phelps, who works for the city of Colorado Springs.
“We share the concerns of people surviving outside in the winter, and we also share the concerns of folks whose properties are being negatively impacted by illegal camps. We’re bringing everyone onto the table and trying to do the best we can.”
City Council will vote on the ordinance in two weeks.
News5 will keep you posted on what happens next.