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$8 million allocated for homeless in Colorado Springs

Published On: Apr 30 2014 08:40:15 PM CDT

Money comes from federal grants and will cover a variety of projects.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

More available housing, a daytime gathering center and more shelter beds will be provided by Colorado Springs using federal money to help the homeless.

Aimee Cox, the city's community initiatives manager, said nearly $8 million will be available this year for the projects.  About half the amount will be spent on acquiring housing that will be more easily available and more affordable.

Cox said the homeless also need a place to gather during the day.

"A day center allows them to find showers, medical care and storage for their belongings," she said.  "We're going to provide an investment in a service provider that has not yet been identified."

Cox said the city also wants to increase the number of beds in emergency shelters.  Beds usually fill quickly during cold weather.

Cox said she couldn't provide an exact number of homeless people in the city, but estimated it's "several thousand" and described the need as "significant."

"And they're not the people you'll see on the street, necessarily," she said.  "They're young mothers, they're children, they're families."

Cox said some of the money will be used for police enforcement, and to clean blighted areas frequented by the homeless.

Next year, the city begins a five-year initiative to end homelessness locally.

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