[Hpn] Colorado Springs "Homeless Task Force"
Tue, 03 Jul 2001 08:42:42 -0400 (EDT)
The mega-shelter idea is not dead in Colorado Springs. This could be a very
helpful next step or it could be the next contentious battleground. Hopefully
it will involve the community, not just report to the community.....
Colorado Springs, CO
<<Homeless task force picked
Mayor Makepeace will share leadership
By Eric Gorski/The Gazette
Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace and an El Pomar Foundation executive will be named
today as co-chairs of a new commission on homelessness. The group is taking
shape out of the ashes of a contentious plan for a one-stop shelter that the
mayor and the private foundation fought for.
The appointments are to be announced at a morning news conference at City
Council chambers in the City Administration Building, said El Pomar
spokeswoman Kristin Donovan. El Paso County Commissioner Ed Jones also will
serve on the commission's seven-member executive committee.
The commission's goal is to come up with long-term solutions to fighting
homelessness after El Pomar's surprise announcement last month to pull back
$5 million for the Montgomery Community Center, which would have been
southwest of downtown.
The center -- which would have put a shelter, soup kitchen, medical clinic
and other services under one roof -- won council approval in November and
survived a district court challenge by neighbors. The lead plaintiff in the
case, however, said he would appeal.
El Pomar, which prefers to avoid controversy, cited delays brought by the
lawsuit, an increase in project cost and community divisiveness as factors in
killing the idea.
Last week, the foundation announced $1.5 million in grants for "short-term"
solutions -- mostly to repair existing facilities -- and revealed plans for
Donovan said the group "will look at a host of options and report back to the
community." She declined to identify the El Pomar official who will serve as
Donovan said that while the executive committee is mostly in place, the
larger commission is still taking shape. She said El Pomar, which is
organizing the group, has received "lots of community interest."
Last week, Makepeace said she still supports a one-stop approach the
foundation appears to have abandoned. She said the new commission should
focus not on more study but on convincing the public that's the right
solution. Makepeace couldn't be reached for comment Monday.
Jones said Monday that Makepeace asked him to join the commission. He spoke
in favor of the consolidated center at November's public hearing. Jones said
Monday that neighborhood opposition likely would halt a renewed attempt.
"Hopefully, out of the brainpower there, we can figure out something to do,"