Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach yesterday unveiled his vision for a 24-hour campus to serve the homeless. As KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, the mayor is looking for property downtown that can provide everything from showers to meals to drug counseling.
The campus Bach imagines would serve 100 to start. It would have phones and computers so the homeless can reach family and find jobs, plus clinics, a laundromat and luggage storage. He calls it Sunrise Village, and he’s already thinking beyond it.
"What if we could build enough housing for a couple-3-4-500 people over time? I think we have to think big. I know we have very limited dollars and lots of hurdles but if we can get people back into shelter, I hope you’ll agree with me, there’s a real chance you can change their lives."
Leaders of nonprofits serving the homeless praised the plan, though some say they’re already providing such services. Others say it’s not so simple. A self-described homeless man named Richard Clubs agrees.
"The true homeless are going to be homeless. You give them a nice building they’ll come there and shower. They’ll work for their tokens and their laundry, and that’s needed but its not going to paint a picture where they’re disappeared. There still going to be on the street. We’re still going to have issues with them. It’s what they choose."
Bach says the plan is still in flux. The project might be limited to families, or just a day center. He says he would contract with charities and enlist foundations to lessen the bill for taxpayers.