COLORADO SPRINGS — We are coming out of the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. For our homeless population, this night isn’t just long, it’s the start of a difficult, colder season.
Dec. 21 has become National Homeless Person’s Memorial Day. This year’s Point in Time Survey calculated over 1,100 people are homeless in Colorado Springs. 182 of those are chronically homeless, and 87 are veterans. However, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development left out people who are unsheltered. This means the number of homeless is much higher. I spoke with a licensed clinical social worker who worked with our homeless population for several years. She says this time of the year is challenging.
“I know we often feel uncomfortable. There’s this thought, they want money, or I don’t want to give them money but to walk by and not be seen by a hundred people is very painful compared to just a smile, or a, “Hello,” or a “How are you?” said Melissa Bannerot, LCSW, Old Colorado City.
“I don’t know that we realize how close a lot of people are to homelessness right now. I mean, I know sometimes it definitely is a mental health issue when you look at maybe people who have had options who not be homeless, and have chosen to be homeless, but I also think we are in a point right now where economics is really tricky.”
The city of Colorado Springs lists several shelters for the homeless, including the Springs Rescue Mission, and The Place for youth ages 15-20. The city also has over 15 housing resources and several non-profits working to help.
Here’s a link to all of those resources.