11 Call for Action: How much is cleaning up illegal camps costing Colorado Springs?

Also in the open records request was a contract change for Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful. It says for 2018 the city's contract with Keep COS Beautiful was modified for $45,000. The city has spent $45,000 each year since 2014, for a total of $225,000.

The city clarified that contract modification with KKTV after our original story aired and also says only $12,000 of that money goes to homeless camp cleanups and the rest goes to litter mitigation.

It's unclear if that is in addition to the other invoices KKTV received for Keep COS Beautiful's homeless camp cleanups, totaling $53,430.

In an 11 Call for Action Investigation, reporter Jessica Leicht filed an open records request to find out the cost of cleaning up illegal camps over the past 6 months. According to those documents, it’s about $61,390.

Most of that money went toward Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful.
The organization has crews clean illegal camps across the city. It's a non-profit, but the organization gets paid.

"It's essential to the community and the environment and just the quality of life in Colorado Springs that we come out and restore the creek, the trail and the creek beds,” executive director of Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful, Dee Cunningham said.

The rest of the money went to waste management for taking the trash to the landfill.

That price tag does not even include the cost to pay code enforcement or quality of life crews. They are on the city's permanent payroll but spend a lot of their time cleaning up illegal camps.

The Coalition for Compassion and Action said they'd rather see all that money go to managing a legal encampment for the homeless. They estimate it would cost just $4 thousand a month to run one for 500 people, with bathrooms, garbage, laundry and even mail.