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Mayor's budget keeps money for human services flat

October 11, 2013 Updated: October 11, 2013 at 7:59 pm
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photo - Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach. Photo by Junfu Han. The Gazette.
Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach. Photo by Junfu Han. The Gazette. 

HOUSING SERVICES

In May, Mayor Steve Bach unveiled the concept of Sunrise Village, a campus that included a shelter and myriad homeless services. That idea has since stalled, and the 2014 budget doesn't include specific plans for it.

All of Bach's homeless and housing initiatives fall under the city's economic vitality office, which added two people during 2013. The mayor's 2014 budget, though, keeps general fund money for human services programs almost flat. Also, federal grant money for housing and homeless programs could drop because of sequestration, based on city estimates.

The change: 2013 amended budget: $5.5 million. 2014 budget, $4.9 million

What it means: That's complicated. City economic vitality employees will continue to try to ease the process for businesses to come to Colorado Springs. But housing programs will have to wait: The federal government operates on a different fiscal year than the city, and grant allocations won't be finalized for some time, said Aimee Cox, the city's senior economic vitality specialist. For the time being, she plans to spearhead a housing assessment while continuing work on a plan to address homelessness in the city.

Who cares: Bach has repeatedly said that he wants to see the city expand its offering of affordable housing available across Colorado Springs. One of Cox's upcoming projects will be to complete an assessment of affordable housing needs across the Pikes Peak region.

Sticking points: Quite simply, money. City officials expect federal housing grants to decrease by nearly $700,000 in 2014 - a drop that would include major cuts to rehabilitation projects at affordable housing units.

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