Interesting tidbits of information almost always come out of a weekly meeting that started in December to address homeless camping in Colorado Springs. (By the way, if you want to attend the meetings, they’re usually at noon Wednesdays at the United Way office building, 518 N. Nevada Ave. But call ahead to 955-0731, because times can — and do — change).
I wrote about one development — one-way bus tickets out of town for homeless campers — today. Some others bits and pieces of note:
– Officer Dan McCormack, a member of the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team, reiterated that if a no-camping ordinance passes on Feb. 9, it won’t mean the camps will be gone Feb. 10. Enforcement may be phased in, he said. One of his colleagues, M.J. Thomson, said that the spectre of the ordination passing is already having an effect on the camps. “We’re seeing the migration start,” he said.
– The donations that flooded homeless camps during the holidays has subsided. Those who work with the homeless say campers got so many donations, they ended up trashing a lot of it. Two truckloads of food ended up in a landfill because of it.
– An effort to start a formal transportation service to the detox center is gaining steam. Springs Rescue Mission has a vehicle, but now needs volunteer drivers. The county detox center has agreed to take in homeless campers who have been drinking or using drugs, which means they can’t go to the city’s only shelter. Some have been flagging rides with police or code enforcement officers from the camps to detox, which is about two miles away.
– The nonprofit CS-HOPE is continuing its effort to open a shelter that could house about 300 homeless people. They’ve been looking at a building on East Las Vegas Street, but spokeswoman Jackie Ayers said there’s another location being considered.
– The Black Pastors Union is continuing with its plans to start “sleepovers” for homeless campers at a rotating lineup of churches, from Thanksgiving to Easter. A bus would pickup the campers at the social services building in the late afternoon and bring them back the next morning. The churches would provide staff, oversight and a hot dinner and breakfast. Lights would go out at 9 p.m. Sobriety would not be a requirement.
– Melissa Marts of the Care & Share food bank hopes to start a gardening project in Dorchester Park that homeless campers could work on.