Organizations hold protest in downtown COS for affordable housing

A sign at the protest reading "housing is a human right!"
A sign at the protest reading "housing is a human right!"(KKTV)
Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 4:42 PM MDT|Updated: Aug. 1, 2021 at 9:20 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Four people are now facing charges after a protest in Colorado Springs.

Police say they were arrested for blocking traffic and interference. The activists are associated with the “March for Housing” event that happened downtown Saturday afternoon.

The Colorado Springs Police Department says they support peaceful demonstrations but had to take action when the group blocked part of Nevada Avenue. Officers say they gave several warnings before any arrests were made.

The protesters say they were being peaceful.

The activists want to bring attention to what they call a “housing crisis.” Protesters from multiple organizations that make up the group “Colorado Springs Housing 4 All Coalition” are calling for more affordable housing in Colorado Springs.

The Housing 4 All Coalition is made up of community folks and orgs that have been meeting together to identify solutions...

Posted by Chinook Center on Friday, July 30, 2021

“We obviously have more people that are houseless in the community,” activist Melissa Hall said. “We have, what, over 30 percent of our households are cost burden which means they are spending more than 30 percent of their income for rent.”

According to the most recent data on the city’s website, there were more than 1,500 people experiencing homelessness in 2019. Activists say that number is too high.

“I’ve had to bring people food and shelter and things like this and I’m tired of the city saying that ‘we are doing everything we can to solve this,’” Jon Christiansen said. “Because obviously they are not doing enough.”

The protesters are asking city leaders to consider rent control, inclusionary zoning, and more funding for affordable housing among other things. They say this is important especially now that the eviction moratorium is set to expire.

In the meantime, they just want to spread the word about a problem that affects more than the people you see sleeping on the streets.

“There are people sleeping on the streets in this entire part of town. That is unacceptable. It’s also unacceptable that people are working and can barely afford an apartment,” Christiansen said.

11 News reached out to the mayor’s office Saturday to see what was being done about the housing issue. Below is the full statement.

“We are fortunate in Colorado Springs to have multiple dedicated and effective service providers who work closely with the city to create real solutions in the areas of homelessness and affordable housing.
More than 1,000 affordable apartments are either under construction or soon will get off the ground in the southeast part of the city alone, with up to 1,000 more to come. This is the biggest improvement in our affordable housing supply in recent history.The individual projects are connected to nonprofits, including Greccio Housing, Colorado Springs Housing Authority, Volunteers in America and Solid Rock Baptist Church.Of $127 million the city has received from large grantors including HUD and tax-exempt bonds, $111 million is earmarked for housing.We will continue to work with these mission-centered organizations to keep making progress on this important topic. "

Spokesperson for the City of Colorado Springs

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