[Hpn] More secret planning in Colorado Springs

HOBOMATT@aol.com HOBOMATT@aol.com
Sat, 16 Jun 2001 10:09:57 -0400 (EDT)

This article appeared today in the local daily. One does have to wonder, are 
there ANY human service non-profits that operate in an open, transparent 
manner here? Actually, there are a few such agencies but this one does not 
seem to be one of them. Of special concern is that a number of the Urban Peak 
board members are long standing mega-shelter boosters, and they did their 
best to "Pearl Harbor" the Mill Street Neighborhood in their early planning. 
These folks definitely bear watching....
Matt Parkhouse, RN
Colorado Springs, CO

<<Homeless teens housing raises eyebrows

By Ovetta Sampson/The Gazette 06-16-01

A political hornet's nest is stirring over a proposal to provide housing for 
homeless teens in an old motel on the city's westside.

Urban Peak of Colorado Springs, a 6-month-old non-profit agency that helps 
homeless and runaway youths, has applied for a $400,000 federal grant to 
provide affordable housing to teens.

In the grant application, which is on file at the city's Neighborhood 
Services Offices, the agency lists the Old Colorado City Motel, 2032 W. 
Cucharras St., as a site to purchase, rehabilitate and convert into 
one-bedroom and studio apartments for eight youths. A full-time apartment 
manager would also live in the complex.

The site's location in a residential area, near the corner of 21st Street and 
Colorado Avenue, has raised concern on the westside.

City Council member Sallie Clark said she's received a couple calls about the 
plan. The callers wanted to know such things as the project's timetable and 
whether the complex would serve troubled teens. Clark has since called the 
City Planning Department, but she said Urban Peak hasn't filed for any 
permits with the city. 

"We're just really trying to see what's going on," she said.

Nothing's really going on, say Urban Peak officials. Roxane White, executive 
director of Urban Peak of Colorado Springs, said it's too early in the 
process for anyone to be concerned.

Urban Peak does not have a contract on the property or money to purchase the 
site. White said Urban Peak used the address and pictures of the Old Colorado 
City Motel in its grant application because the motel was for sale and fit 
the group's needs. She said federal officials require applicants to have a 
site and financial figures in the application even if they can't purchase the 
site without the grant award.

"We're way preliminary," White said, noting Urban Peak won't known until 
December whether it received the money. 

"We go public and start working with neighbors once we have a grant award. 
With (the Department of Housing and Urban Development), there's a seven-month 
lag time. Many times the original properties you look at are never available 
(when it comes time to buy)."

She also said HUD did not give Colorado Springs any money for new housing 
projects last year.

"Just because you submit doesn't mean you get anything," White said. 

But Clark said the earlier that agencies involve neighbors, the better. 

"It's so much better to go in in the early, early stages to where you work 
with the neighborhood and be a partner to it rather than an adversary," she 
said. "They can say 'We've applied for this grant. We don't know if we're 
going to get it, but this is what we have in mind,'" she said. 

White said Urban Peak is committed to working with neighbors on any project, 
whether it's to provide affordable housing to homeless teens or the agency's 
goal of creating a teen shelter. 

"It's a really, really difficult and painful issue," White said. "People are 
homeless and they need a place to live, but people also need to feel safe in 
their neighborhood.">>