After years of relying on temporary spaces, the city of Pueblo finally has a permanent shelter to serve people experiencing homelessness.
Pueblo’s Rescue Mission opened the new downtown facility on Tuesday after months of renovations and a few years of planning. Pueblo City Councilman Mark Aliff, who co-chairs the city's Commission On Housing and Homelessness, said the shelter has been a long time coming.
“This is just huge,” he said. “It’s been a tremendous amount of work. All of us on city council are very relieved. I just cannot stress enough how important this is to us as a community.”
The Rescue Mission has space for 60 men and 40 women year-round with more beds available on cold nights. It’s open all day and night, and there’s also a kitchen to prepare meals.
Aliff visited the space Wednesday night and said there were only a few beds open.
The transitional shelter is designed to provide people with resources to find housing and jobs to help them get off the streets for good. Unlike low-barrier shelters, people who stay here are required to sign up for those services in order to get a bed, Aliff said.
The building housed the Wayside Cross Rescue Mission until it closed in 2017. That same year, another shelter operated by the Salvation Army also shut down. That left Pueblo scrambling for temporary fixes.
In 2018, the city opened a temporary warming shelter inside a big, empty warehouse with mats to sleep on and an outdoor restroom. But that lease lasted less than five months.
The Rescue Mission briefly ran another temporary space this winter before its new shelter opened.
A grand opening will take place on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 4 p.m.