[Hpn] Colorado Springs Commission on Homelessness
Wed, 04 Jul 2001 09:26:38 -0400 (EDT)
Very pleased to read of this. Especially of the inclusion of Jan Doran, of
the CONO organization on the Executive Committee. Hopefully, at the end of
six months, our community will have a plan we ALL can back.
Colorado Springs, CO
<<New tack on homelessness
Panel will help steer $3.5 million donation
By Eric Gorski/The Gazette
Taking lessons learned from the failed Montgomery Community Center project,
the El Pomar Foundation on Tuesday introduced a seven-member committee that
will re-examine how to best serve homeless people in southern Colorado.
The group -- headed by Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace and Tony Koren, an El Pomar
vice president -- is to issue recommendations within six months on how $3.5
million in El Pomar money should be spent to develop long-term solutions to
The philanthropic foundation has moved quickly since its June 21 announcement
it was pulling back a $5 million grant for the Montgomery center. The project
would have moved a shelter, soup kitchen, medical clinic and other services
into one building southwest of downtown.
Last week, El Pomar announced $1.5 million in grants for temporary fixes at
the current American Red Cross shelter and Catholic Charities soup kitchen,
plus other initiatives. Catholic Charities Executive Director Krzys
Myszkowski is a member of the executive committee.
The naming Tuesday of the Commission on Homelessness in Southern Colorado
reflects a revised approach that is regional, more focused on women and
children, and has expanded to include affordable and transitional housing.
Most executive committee members introduced Tuesday supported the one-stop
approach of the Montgomery center, including Makepeace, El Paso County
Commission Chairman Ed Jones and representatives of nonprofit groups that
were to be based there.
But not all members fit that profile. Jan Doran, president of the Council of
Neighbors and Organizations (CONO), which supported Mill Street neighbors who
fought the project, was chosen after she volunteered.
A relative newcomer to the debate is Chamber of Commerce President Will
Temby, who was asked by Makepeace and Koren to represent the business
Members of the larger commission are City Councilman Ted Eastburn, Red Cross
interim executive director Ann Carlisle Holcomb, developer Steve Schuck and
Colorado Springs Housing Authority director Dick Sullivan.
Makepeace and others repeatedly stressed Tuesday that tackling homelessness
should be the responsibility of the entire community.
"My driving motivation is families and children," she said. "We are
concentrating on persons in crisis and moving them toward self-sufficiency.
That is more than shelter."
Makepeace previously said the new commission should focus on selling the
public on the consolidated approach. She said Tuesday she's "not here to
advocate for the Montgomery Center as it was presented." She said a workable
solution would look different.
"Everything is on the table," Makepeace said.
One idea discussed only in vague terms has been creating a new facility for
homeless women and families.
The site of the proposed Montgomery Community Center -- 3.7 acres of Colorado
Springs Utilities land south of Drake Power Plant -- is still in play, said
Red Cross board chairwoman Sarah Jack.
"We do have a five-year lease on that property, and we do have an existing
shelter," Jack said. "But (the shelter) is never going to be appropriate
housing for people with children in crisis, or for any person. It's a
Doran, of CONO, said she expects to make new proposals such as putting small
"satellite" centers for the homeless throughout the city. Nonprofit providers
say services need to be downtown, where the homeless gather. Doran said
smaller centers would fit better into neighborhoods.
Koren, of El Pomar, said the group is meant to "reflect the community" and
come up with "positive and constructive input."
More members likely will be added later.>>