COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A number of Colorado Springs community groups, together called The Colorado Springs Housing for All Coalition, and members of the community will march this Saturday in an effort to remind city leadership that thousands of people are being left out in the cold – sometimes, literally.
The March for Affordable Housing will begin at Dorchester Park and will end with a press conference downtown. The Colorado Springs Housing for All Coalition -- made up of The Colorado Springs Democratic Socialists of America, Colorado Springs Tenant Union, Chinook Center, and Colorado Springs Pro-Housing Partnership -- will also distribute food and personal items for those facing homelessness.
Jonathan Christiansen with the Chinook Center says, everyone is deserving of housing.
"We're tired of seeing how expensive housing is getting," Christiansen explains.
Christiansen says it's time for city leaders to involve those experiencing a housing crisis to be involved in the conversation of how to make living in Colorado Springs affordable. He claims, there isn't enough being done.
"The city is aware there’s an affordable housing crisis," Christiansen says.
"But the people that they talk to about it are the homebuilder’s association, the realtor’s association, the developers… So, we felt like the people actually experiencing the crisis needed to part of the conversation.”
In the last five years, the median housing price has jumped more than $150,000. Over the last three years, the average price of rent has increased by 30 percent.
In El Paso County, 32 percent of people spend more than a third of their income on housing. Issues like this, affecting people like Melissa Hall.
Hall is a volunteer at the Chinook Center, and is formerly homeless.
"It was a very hard time, and there's so many out there in the same situation I was in," Hall says.
"This situation is only going to get worse if we don't make changes now." Hall continues.
Christiansen says the 15-hundred people un-housed in Colorado Springs is a number that will continue to grow if prices continue to spike.
"Who knows how many people are about to be unhoused," Christiansen says.
Hall has a message for city leaders and home builders.
"Please do better," Hall states.
Hall wants the public to join the march and make their voices heard.
"I think we as a people forget that, what other people are experiencing, it affects us -- whether it's directly or indirectly."
"This is something that can bring a lot of people together," Christiansen says.
"Everybody needs housing. It doesn't leave anybody out, so it bring a lot of people together to have their voices heard in the city."
The Affordable Housing March being at Dorchester Park at 11am, Saturday, July 31st. It will end in Downtown Colorado Springs, where a rally will take place. Organizers from The Colorado Springs Housing for All Coalition will speak at the rally.