A years-long effort to find a permanent shelter for the homeless in Pueblo found success Tuesday.
The Pueblo Rescue Mission received a $1.3 million grant that will allow the organization to open a 100-bed shelter later this year, the state Department of Local Affairs confirmed.
For Kathy Cline, executive director of the Pueblo Rescue Mission, the news was almost too good to be true.
“Until I have the contract in my hands, you know, I always will think, ‘oh gosh, what else?’ Because that's kind of the way things have gone for the Rescue Mission,” she said.
The Rescue Mission operated a shelter at 724 West 4th Street on the outskirts of downtown for decades. In 2016, it partnered with the Colorado Springs Rescue Mission and made plans to renovate that facility and temporarily move services elsewhere. That was met with resistance by neighborhood groups and ended with the two organizations parting ways last fall.
The city of Pueblo then stepped in, and even planned to house its homeless residents in two propane-heated tents on a vacant lot. Eventually, the city and the Pueblo Rescue Mission opened an bare-bones operation in an old food storage warehouse that served more than 500 people over the winter.
Now, Cline plans to have the original facility on 4th Street completely renovated and re-opened by late 2019. The shelter will offer patrons meals, clothing, and resources to help find work and housing.
“We're just excited to move forward,” she said. “I believe this is going to finally happen in Pueblo.”
The city and various other local stakeholders put forth about half a million dollars to supplement the state grant, state documents show. City Councilman Mark Aliff said he doesn’t expect neighborhood opposition this time around.
“It’s the only location in the city of Pueblo that is zoned for this. It's perfect,” he said. “I feel relieved. I’ll feel a lot better when it’s open and there’s people in it. But this is really a big day for all of us.”