Springs Rescue Mission breaks ground on new addition to campus

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - The Springs Rescue Mission, near downtown Colorado Springs, broke ground Tuesday morning on two new additions to the shelter’s growing campus.

The shelter plans to build a new dining hall and kitchen facility, as well as a new welcome center. The groundbreaking ceremony was held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the shelter's campus at 5 W. Las Vegas St.

“We are constantly listening and learning as an organization so that we can make sure that we are helping as many people as possible,” said Travis Williams, the shelter’s chief development officer. “So we’ll get feedback from the community. We’re working with the city. We’ll work with individuals who are experiencing homelessness and really try to address each of those needs one by one.”

The shelter’s current dining hall can only seat 65 people, according to Williams. He said that leaves many people waiting outside for an hour or two before they can get inside to get a meal.

“It’s just not a dignified way to treat our neighbors in Colorado Springs,” Williams said. “So this new kitchen and dining hall will be able to seat approximately 200 people at a time, allowing more people to be out of the elements and getting food in their bellies so they can actually get access to the resources they so desperately need.”

The kitchen will also have space for classrooms and workshops so families and individuals can learn how to cook for themselves.

“Access to nutritious meals, knowing how to prepare nutritious meals is often a barrier for people moving forward,” Williams said. “We want to make sure that people do not freeze on the streets of Colorado Springs, and we want to make sure – more than that – that they’re not just surviving, that they are actually thriving.”

The shelter has made many expansions to its campus over the past few years. Just three years ago, the shelter only served 65 people. Recently, the shelter added beds so it is now able to house 450 a night. Williams said the most the campus has sheltered is 444 people.

Inside the brand new welcome center, there will be space for 450 lockers where people can put their belongings. Right now, the shelter has trash bins for people to put their things.

“There’s still this desire to want to have some of their belongings, and we get it, their precious belongings in a place where they can securely lock so nobody, no wandering hands can grab any of their belongings,” Williams said. “So it’s going to mean a big deal to our guests to be able to have a nice, dignified place where they can enter, store their stuff and get access to all the resources that they need to improve their situation.”

Williams said the cost for the new dining facility and welcome center will be about $5.5 million. He said the money comes from the Springs Rescue Mission’s Capital Campaign to Build a Community of Hope, which is mostly made up of private donations and grants.

The shelter hopes to have the new buildings open and operation by the end of 2019.

In addition to building a new dining hall and welcome center, the shelter is also planning to open a 65-unit apartment complex on its campus.

“That’ll be, as far as I know, the state’s first permanent supportive housing unit specifically designed for chronically homeless individuals,” Williams said.

The apartment complex is scheduled to open sometime in June.