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Crews begin cleanup of large ‘Quarry’ homeless camp

Posted at 11:54 AM, Dec 11, 2018

COLORADO SPRINGS – City crews and volunteers are in the process of cleaning up the large homeless camp in southern Colorado Springs referred to as ‘the Quarry.’

The site is on 4 parcels of private property running from the intersection of Wahsatch Avenue and Fountain Boulevard down to railroad tracks at S Royer Street and E Las Vegas St.  That’s just south of Shooks Run Park.

Today was the deadline for anyone there to clear out. Construction equipment is being used to clear out tents, personal belongings and trash left behind.  An estimated 145 tents were still on site when crews arrived.

Last week, there was a large outreach to more than 100 people who were living in the camp to inform them of various services to help them find shelter, counseling, health care and mental health assistance and help with substance abuse.

One of the biggest points made to people in the area is the additional 370 low barrier shelter beds now available in the community. The idea is to help people who have substance abuse problems get out of the cold and unsafe environments.

What we don’t know is how many people will actually take up offers from local organizations to seek help in the shelters or from other programs.  History shows most will choose to move onto another location where the city or county will once again have to cleanup at a later date.

The city is still working to address the lack of affordable housing in the city, which is a contributing factor to homelessness.

The camp cleanup comes as the city steps up enforcement of its ordinance that bans camping within city limits. A court ruling said the city cannot enforce no-camping bans without having someplace for those people to go.

As News 5 has reported, the Springs Rescue mission added 150 more beds at its shelter on Monday. The total number of beds at the Rescue Mission is now about 650.

Surveys tracking the number of homeless people camping in Colorado Springs show this is enough to make no-camping bans more enforceable. Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told News 5 Monday that the city will begin, “aggressively” enforcing the ban.

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