PUEBLO — City leaders in Pueblo are looking at some sobering data dealing with homelessness. An issue impacting the jail population. Colorado’s rapid growth making affordable housing even harder to find.
Numbers just presented to Pueblo City Council show from 2016 through 2018 the average number of homeless jail bookings was nearly 790 per year. It creates a cost over $1.5 million a year.
"It's not just the homeless issue. It's an affordable housing issue," said Pueblo Triple Aim Corporation, Executive Director, Alexis Ellis. Home and rental prices in Pueblo are rapidly rising related to Colorado’s rapid growth. People who cannot afford the housing prices in larger cities are willing to commute from more affordable cities like Pueblo. Only it increases demand on housing and raises prices for locals. Rental vacancy in Pueblo is below 2.5%. "The rents and the mortgages and house costs all the way around are increasing so rapidly especially over the past two years that you're seeing more and more working families that are out on the streets as well." There are many more struggling to meet their bills.
The counter to high demand is adding inventory. With this issue it needs to be affordable inventory. “There is no one organization that’s going to be able to solve this problem,” said Ellis. Implementing relief is a long process.