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$500k set aside for homelessness in proposed Colorado Springs budget

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- On Monday, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers unveiled his proposed 2023 budget for the city. In it, $500,000 has been set aside to support shelter bed operations for the homeless population.

That amount hasn't changed in 3 years, with each budget allocating $500,000 since at least 2020.

According to the latest Point In Time Count, over 1,400 people are experiencing homelessness in El Paso County. It’s an increase of nearly 300 people since the 2020-2021 count.

"We are continuing the funding that we provide to the shelters for the beds that are made available, and we implemented that a couple of years ago," said Charae McDaniel, Colorado Springs' Chief Financial Officer. "And that is an ongoing effort so that we can have the number of beds necessary for any unsheltered persons who would like to have a place to stay.”

When it comes to a massive shelter like the Springs Rescue Mission, operating off of $500,000 would never cut it. While the shelter says financial support from the city helps them tremendously, they've found other ways to stay afloat.

"Most people are shocked when they learn that Springs Rescue Mission is a community-supported entity," Travis Williams, Springs Rescue Mission's Chief Development Officer. "In fact, most of the time, 75 to 80 percent of our funding comes from individuals in this community.”

The city says $500,000 is adequate for the number of beds available in Colorado Springs.

According to the latest Point In Time Count, 85 percent of beds in shelters were filled last year.

"Last night, we probably saw over 320 individuals utilize our shelters," said Williams. "As we get into the winter season, it's not uncommon for us to get closer to nearly 500 people needing shelter from the elements, to be able to survive, and have another day to fight their addictions, fight mental illness, and also continue to fight homelessness."

The Springs Rescue Mission says they are preparing for a big influx of people this winter as the Salvation Army shifts its model to help more families rather than individuals without homes.

Despite that pressure, Springs Rescue Mission is still pushing forward to help get people back on their feet and into permanent housing.

"Right now, we're really proud to say that almost every given month we're seeing close to 20 people leave the Rescue Mission who were struggling with homelessness and get back into relationships, back into community, back into employment," said Williams. "And oftentimes that hope starts with simply one night at Springs Rescue Mission.”

If you would like to learn more about Springs Rescue Mission or donate, click here.

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Mallory Anderson

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