Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Homeless people in Colorado Springs hit hard by flooding

By Jakob Rodgers Updated: September 19, 2013 at 9:07 am

The devastation could be viewed in scattered campsite remains left beside Fountain Creek and a recent rush for new sleeping bags.

In many cases, homeless people in Colorado Springs lost everything they owned.

On Tuesday, Springs Rescue Mission officials asked for donations and volunteers to help the region's homeless population deal with the recent flooding, which washed away belongings along a stretch of Fountain Creek from Manitou Springs to southeast Colorado Springs.

At least 55 people have received help in replacing items lost in the flood, though the recent need has far outpaced the organization's supplies, said Sarah Stacy, the nonprofit's Resource Advocate Program director.

"We could have given away many, many more (sleeping bags) than we did - we just don't have them at the moment," Stacy said.

The remnants of homeless camps could be found along Fountain Creek near the Martin Lutheran King Jr. Bypass, as well as near Interstate 25 and Nevada Avenue, said M.J. Thomson, a member of the Colorado Springs Police Department's Homeless Outreach Team.

The team spent Sept. 11, 12 and Friday visiting campsites along Fountain Creek, warning people of the impending floods, Thomson said. The Springs Rescue mission housed 46 people over a three-night span ending Monday morning at the nonprofit's cold-weather shelter, Stacy said.

The majority of those affected included the chronically homeless - people who refuse to stay in shelters and who often sleep beneath bridges.

Thomson was surprised more people weren't injured in the floodwaters.

A 54-year-old man who had a small apartment but who battled homelessness for years died in the flooding. Emergency crews pulled Danny Davis' body from Fountain Creek on Thursday.

A man walked into the shelter after the storms with an ill-fitted pair of pants that weren't his, Stacy said.

"Everything he owned, including his shoes, washed away in the flooding," Stacy said. "I've seen numbers and numbers of people who are homeless in our community that that's happened to. It's a pretty miserable, miserable time for those guys who have been living outside."

As the waters receded, one man joked to Stacy that he's a "world traveler."

"At least my tent is," the man told Stacy. "I'm sure it's in Pueblo."

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Contact Jakob Rodgers: 476-1654

Twitter @jakobrodgers

Facebook Jakob Rodgers

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TO DONATE

The Springs Rescue Mission is asking for donations and for volunteers to help the region’s homeless population, which was hit hard by recent flooding.

To reserve a volunteer shift, call 314-2371. Donations can be dropped off from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, as well as 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays, at 1 W. Las Vegas St.

Specifically, the organization is asking for 40-gallon trash bags, nonperishable food, water, clothing, waterproof boots, hygiene items, ponchos, blankets and sleeping bags.

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