Community leaders in the Pikes Peak region are taking on the issue of chronic homelessness, and they're seeking public engagement at a summit in Colorado Springs.
A collaborative group called Continuum of Care is looking to create a 5-year plan for addressing homelessness in Colorado Springs and El Paso County.
Anne Beer is the Vice President of Income and Housing Stability at Pikes Peak United Way, which is helping to spearhead the initiative. She says finding housing and enrolling people in support services is only the first step.
"If we think more creatively, then not only might we be able to get some portion of the population back into employment or even community service or volunteer efforts," says Beer, "then now they become part of the community again."
Beer says there were nearly 300 chronically homeless people in Colorado Springs in January, and it can cost the city up to $56,000 a year for each homeless person.
The initiative is independent of the city's proposed and now pared-down sit-lie ordinance, which has been criticized by the ACLU.
Beer says they hope to have a strategic plan for the city by February of 2016.
The Continuum of Care in Colorado Springs and El Paso County is hosting the summit. It will take place at the First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs on Monday, October 26th, at 8am.