[Hpn] Colorado Springs Commission on Homelessness

HOBOMATT@aol.com HOBOMATT@aol.com
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.
Matt Parkhouse,RN
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 
homelessness.

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 
community.

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 
warehouse."

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.>>