COLORADO SPRINGS – Beginning Monday, January 14th homeless camping outside some Colorado Springs libraries will be banned and tickets issued for those who don’t comply.
John Spears, CEO & chief librarian of the Pikes Peak Library District, said the Penrose Library downtown has seen a definite increase in the number of people who are camping outside the doors at night. Keeping these people safe and cleaning up after them has become too much to handle.
Spears said, “We recently made the difficult decision of prohibiting trespassing on the Pikes Peak Library District grounds.”
It’s a problem that’s only gotten worse as the homeless population in Colorado Springs continues to grow.
At the Penrose Library Spears said, “We’ve had upwards of 80 to 90 people on a given night and that is just not something that’s sustainable in the long run.”
Starting next Monday from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. anyone found camping on the grounds of these four campuses – Penrose, East, Old Colorado City, and Library 21c – will be asked to leave. Colorado Springs Police will be enforcing this and if you don’t comply you could get a ticket.
Spears said, “When we’re closed at night we can’t offer anything that would see to their safety, that would see to the needs that they have.”
Over the next week the library will be helping people find places to fulfill those needs. It’s posted information inside its buildings detailing where to get meals, shelter, and other resources. A newly hired social worker will also be there to assist.
“She has helped people apply for jobs, has helped people apply for housing vouchers.”
The new policy begins next week as Spears wants to give people time to make other arrangements. He also wants to remind people that anyone is available to use the library facilities during the day no matter what their situation is.