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Lack of warming shelter having domino effect across Pueblo community

Posted at 10:46 PM, Nov 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-02 00:46:25-04

PUEBLO –  The City of Pueblo has two problems now: no emergency warming shelter for the homeless and
the domino effect it’s created in the community to try and provide a refuge.

Pueblo Police, in particular are doing what they can.

“We’ve never quite this volume that we have now,” said Sergeant Franklyn Ortega with Pueblo Police Department.
“In the past it’s been people here and there and that’s something that we could handle. If it’s several hundred people, you know, that would be very interesting for us.”

And he says it’s not uncommon for officers to reach into their own pocket to help someone in need.

“[Officers] can’t watch people suffer needlessly,” he said.
“They’re going to do something about it. Sometimes they invest their own money to get hotels for people and stuff like that, it happens.”

And when the sun goes down, so do the temperatures.

“At night it does get a little cold,” he noted.

That’s when some try to seek refuge here at Parkview Medical Center.

“Our security has informed me that it’s – it happens more often at nighttime that people are trying to get in and stay warm at night and it happens almost every night when it gets cold,” explained Jeff Tucker, spokesperson with Parkview Medical Center.

But security protocols mean they can’t stay.

“This is not a public area, this is a private area,” he said.
“And it’s dedicated to creating a healing environment for our patients and their families.”

While Parkview says it’s too early to confirm whether they’re seeing more of this now than before, there’s a consensus that a shelter would lessen the burden on everyone.

“If there is a place for folks to go, it would be good for everyone in the community,” said Ortega.

“The sooner we have a warming shelter, the easier it’ll be for all of us,” echoed Tucker.

An update on that warming shelter, the City of Pueblo is looking to announce a possible location for that shelter as early as next week.

Right now, they’re working with Pueblo County to make sure this location is a viable one.