[Hpn] Colorado Springs "Homeless Task Force"

HOBOMATT@aol.com HOBOMATT@aol.com
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.....
Matt Parkhouse,
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 
the commission.

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 
co-chair.

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," 
Jones said.>>>