City of Colorado Springs / Mayor's Office / News

Mayor Bach joins fight to end veteran homelessness
Thursday, October 16, 2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—In support of the Homeless Veteran Stand Down today, Thursday, Oct. 16, Mayor Steve Bach announced he will accept the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, a call to action to mayors across the country to make a commitment to ending veteran homelessness in their cities in 2015. 

“We have seen a significant decline in the number of homeless Veterans, thanks to the efforts of our many local partners,” said Mayor Bach. “Colorado Springs is fortunate to be home for so many Veterans. It is only right to help provide a warm and safe place for those who have served our nation.” The goal of the challenge is to quickly place homeless veterans in transitional or permanent housing and to connect homeless Veterans to available services.

“I am proud to support Colorado Springs and Mayor Bach in the decision to join over 240 mayors and city officials in the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness,” said HUD Regional Administrator Rick Garcia. “As the second largest city in Colorado with a large veteran population, their efforts to build on the progress they have made by strengthening collaboration with local partners will bring us closer to giving every veteran a safe, affordable place to call home.”

In the past two years, through the combined effort of many local partners, the community has seen a significant decline in the number of homeless veterans. Of the 230 homeless veterans counted at the point in time count in 2012, 108 identified as unsheltered. In 2014, that number was reduced to 145 homeless veterans and 46 identified as unsheltered. By joining forces with the Continuum of Care and Veteran service providers, Colorado Springs can achieve the following goals by the end of 2015:

  • House 100 veterans.
  • Reduce to 30 the number of unsheltered veteran’s counted in the Point in Time Count in 2016.
  • Build capacity to rapidly house every homeless veteran who wants housing.

“Rocky Mountain Human Services is proud to serve military members, Veterans and families in El Paso County and throughout the state of Colorado.  Our Homes for All Veterans program began its fourth year this month; in that time, we’ve worked with hundreds of Veteran families to prevent and end homelessness among Veterans. The VA’s recent announcement that Colorado Springs is one of the 56 cities nation-wide to be awarded a “surge funding” SSVF grant is a tangible indicator of the VA’s commitment to ending Veteran homelessness in our community. Our staff is committed to using these resources and collaborating with local partners to support the community and nation-wide effort to end Veteran homelessness in 2015,” said Erin V. Wilkinson, Psy., D., LTC(R) Director, Military and Veteran’s Programs, Rocky Mountain Human Services.

Many federal, state and local agencies are key resources to making the end of veteran homelessness a reality for Colorado Springs.

  • VA Homeless Veteran Programs
  • Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS)/Homes for All Veterans (HAV) program
  • City of Colorado Springs
  • Colorado Springs Housing Authority (CSHA)
  • Colorado Springs/El Paso County Continuum of Care (CoC) & Pikes Peak United Way (PPUW)
  • El Paso County Homeless Veteran Coalition/ Homeless Veteran Stand Down

Last year over 1,000 homeless or at-risk of homeless veterans were served through these resources.

“Every instance where one of the brave men and women who’ve served our nation experiences homelessness is both a human tragedy and a community failure," said Jenn Lopez, Director of Homeless Initiatives for Governor Hickenlooper whose administration was one of four governors to join the Veteran Challenge. "Colorado commends the City of Colorado Springs for joining us in this historic effort; together we can ensure that all veterans have access to the housing and services they’ve earned.”

Ending veteran homelessness means reaching the point where there are no veterans sleeping on our streets and every veteran has access to permanent housing. Should veterans become homeless or be at-risk of becoming homeless, communities will have the capacity to quickly connect them to the help they need to achieve housing stability. When those things are accomplished, our nation will achieve its goal.