Surveyors find
chronic cycle of
homelessness

By Mary Barron

A point-in-time survey, conducted statewide Aug. 29, revealed a pattern of chronic homelessness in southern Teller County, said Mary Bielz, executive director of the Community of Caring Foundation.

As one of 12 people conducting the survey in the county, she mainly questioned people in short-term living arrangements in the City of Victor. Their answers indicated that homelessness in the area is chronic for many.

Asked the number of times they had been without a permanent place to live in the last three years, many survey participants checked five or more. Asked how long they had been without a permanent home this time, many indicated more than a month but less than a year, Bielz said. While she concentrated on people living in places like the old Victor School and apartment houses, other volunteers visited campgrounds and the county jail, surveyed victims of domestic violence, and spoke to people picking up food from the Aspen Mine Center’s monthly Commodities program.

The survey’s results, when fully analyzed, could bring focus and funding to the problem, Bielz said.
Aspen Mine Center Coordinator Ted Borden helps board up a house.

Habitat for Humanity needs help

Volunteers with Habitat for Humanity of Teller County, along with some out-of-area volunteers, have been hard at work on the Cripple Creek Special Housing Project on Porphryry Street between Galena and Pikes Peak Avenues. The area is known as Church Hill. Much more volunteer labor will be needed there over the next three years.

Three local low-income families have been chosen to become the buyers of the restored homes at special loan rates in return for their own labor as part of the project. Four donated homes, badly in need of repair, were moved to the site this summer, and plans call for a duplex to be newly constructed there as well.

Volunteers from outside the area, known as Care-A-Vanners, stayed for two weeks this summer at the Hospitality House and Travel Park in Cripple Creek, enjoying reduced rates from owners Stephen and Bonnie Mackin, to help with the Teller County group's projects in Cripple Creek and Divide.

As summer turned to fall, two of the old houses were being boarded up for winter while work continued on foundations for additions to the others. To volunteer or donate, call the Habitat office, 687-4447.

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