Colorado Springs Passes Plan to Help the Homeless

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The Colorado Springs City Council voted in favor Tuesday on a plan to help the city's homeless.

The plan is being called the 10-Year Blueprint To Serve Every Homeless Citizen in the Pikes Peak Region. Click here to read the entire plan.

Tuesday's vote follows the Council's approval on Monday to adopt a new plan that includes giving homeless residents advanced warning of cleanups and using mental health workers to communicate with them during the sweeps.

City officials placed a moratorium on homeless camp cleanups this fall after homeless advocates threatened to sue the city.

They claim city workers and a city-sponsored nonprofit called Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful confiscated and trashed homeless property during sweeps.

Charles Ross has been living along the banks of Fountain Creek for about five months.

"We're all just surviving down here," Ross said.

Charles and his girlfriend are both veterans, both were honorably discharged and they are now homeless after losing their jobs.

"Lost work, ended up down here in the tent, trying to make due ever since," Ross said.

And they've had to start over several times back in August they lost all their stuff in a homeless camp clean-up.

"We've had to replace everything, sleeping bags, discharge papers, birth certificate," Ross said.

The clean-up happened so fast the couple says they didn't have time to pack up.

"They came down and say you have five minutes to be out, start hauling stuff away,”

Now new guidelines approved this week by city council will give the homeless a three day advance warning of any clean-ups and property now claimed during clean-ups will be taken into police custody where it can then be re-claimed. Homeless advocates will also go along for the sweeps.

"The idea is to have them come along so it's transparent, see exactly what Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful is doing," said Deputy Chief Ron Gibson with the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Officials say the homeless population in Colorado Springs grew ten percent in the past year.