The city of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, the police department, religious organizations, nonprofits, private businesses, foundations, community leaders, health care organizations and local activists all do their share to address homelessness in Colorado Springs.
Yet the problems of the homeless persist.
A year after the Springs Rescue Mission's multimillion dollar shelter opened, it's routinely at capacity, and the city is back at square one in dealing with burgeoning numbers of homeless.
The final numbers for the 2018 community survey of the homeless population are not yet available, but the total number of homeless persons is expected to exceed the 2017 count of 1,415.
The situation has worsened as more Denver metro residents turn south to escape that area's white-hot housing market, pushing prices up in Colorado Springs. That means more people are being pushed into homelessness, and fewer people living on the streets can escape it.
So let's talk about what's being done, and what more can be done.
The Gazette has invited some of the major stakeholders in this fight to gather for a community conversation starting at 6 p.m. this coming Wednesday. We hope to get them talking to each other and talking to us, telling us what new initiatives have been started, listening to our concerns, and maybe, just maybe, brainstorming how we can all synchronize our efforts better.
Mayor John Suthers has agreed to be part of the conversation at the Pinery at the Hill. The AARP and Family Promise are co-sponsors of the event, which is open to the public, and we'll be soliciting questions in advance on the Gazette's website.
Other panelists are:
This is a forum that will be focused on solutions rather than problems, so bring your ideas.
See you Wednesday.