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Pueblo Mayor 'impressed' with progress made improving public safety in first 100 days

Concerns of making homelessness issue worse with Camping Ban and shutting down Val U Stay
Posted at 6:32 PM, May 23, 2024

PUEBLO — Pueblo Mayor Heather Graham said she's impressed with the progress made in improving public safety in the city in her first 100 days of office.

Many decisions made by city council have brought up concerns of making the homelessness issue in Pueblo, worse. Specifically, the camping ban and shutting down long-term motels like the Val U Stay.

City council passed a camping ban in February to get rid of tents and trash in public areas. Mayor Graham says police have issued no citations since then.

"Instead of targeting people with dollar amounts, they would be subject to community cleanup or being tasked with getting a housing application," said Mayor Graham.

Several nonprofits, like Posada, are helping displaced families from Val U Stay find other housing.

"We've been busy, we've been busy," said a Posada case manager, Melinda Lucero.

Since April 25th, Posada said staff have been overwhelmed helping more than 30 families.

"They're just not someone we stick in a hotel room and forget about, it's one of those things where you go home thinking about them and what happened on the 25th, we can't rest until folks really are where they need to be, safe and secure," said Lucero.

Mayor Graham said the Val U Stay had health and safety concerns and needed to be shut down.

"I actually had two individuals come into my office yesterday to thank me for closing down Val U Stay because they're able to work with Posada," said Mayor Graham.

Lucero said closing the Val U Stay brings up a larger issue, "what it did was help everybody in this community from the top down realize there's a problem with affordable housing."

State funding to help these people is running out, said Lucero. She said they're doing everything they can to keep people off the streets.

Mayor Graham said she is looking for a city nonprofit coordinator to help find organizations, like Posada, more money to continue providing needed resources.

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