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Welcoming the homeless or turning them away

Published On: Aug 21 2013 09:43:15 PM CDT

People in Colorado Springs are at different ends of the spectrum on whether the improvements to downtown are helping the homeless or not.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Getting the homeless back on their feet or forcing them out of downtown Coloado Springs.

More than 3,000 people are homeless in the city, some feel the Springs is doing what it can to help, others think they are not welcome.

Aaron Paden has worked for the Acacia Park Visitor's Center since it opened May.

"There are a lot of homeless people (at Acacia Park) and a lot of drug dealing."

He says the homeless people have been a problem in Colorado Spring's oldest park, and the city has been trying to find a solution.

"Why are the homeless here and what would make them go away and things like that so yes it has been brought up in meetings.”

Acacia is a popular park for homeless people to go to everyday, but Executive Director of Homeward Pikes Peak Bob Holmes has a suggestion for people not so fortunate.

Homeward is a hotel for the homeless to get back on their feet.

“(It’s for) people who want to work and save money or get a college education.”

Senior Economic Vitality Specialist Aimee Cox says the city doesn’t want to chase the homeless out of town, but help them.

“Moving the homeless out of town isn’t our principle...it’s aiding them in recovery and housing and employment.”

Paden feels Colorado Springs Police added more officers’ downtown because of the homeless.

“We have two officers that store their bikes in here, they come in and out of here quite often and ride their bikes around the park and Tejon.”

Paden says the city isn’t talking about moving the homeless from downtown because it would prevent people from visiting.

I think if they admitted why they would add all this stuff the police monitoring I think they would admit we have a problem and that would kill tourism.

Cox says the city is working with charitable organizations to figure out how to help the homeless.

 

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