Vote YES on SB-210
A Collaborative Proposal to Reduce Homelessness and Repurpose the Historic Ft Lyon Campus
Proposal: Repurpose the historic Ft Lyon campus in Las Animas to provide transitional housing, supportive services and vocational training for 300 of our most vulnerable homeless individuals in order to:
1) Help end veteran homelessness
2) Reduce chronic homelessness throughout Colorado
3) Sustain an economic driver for southeastern Colorado
… is a beautiful campus with over 500 acres of irrigatable land.
… is part of a unique community which has cared for vulnerable individuals for four generations and welcomes this opportunity.
… was a VA Hospital for 80 years until 2000, and then a state prison for 9 years until it was decommissioned in 2012 as a result of declining inmate populations.
… can be operated and maintained at a cost of $6.74/sq ft. By comparison, the similar cost in metro Denver, including dining, clinic and residential space, would be $27/sq ft.
… has been an economic driver for Bent County for almost 100 years.
The Challenge: In 2012, a statewide Homeless Vulnerability survey was conducted in 22 urban and rural communities and identified 2,339 homeless individuals being most vulnerable with a tri-fold condition of mental illness, substance abuse and a chronic medical condition. 39% of these individuals are veterans in urban areas.
A Unique Opportunity
This project will return Ft Lyon to its original roots as a place of recovery. With its beautiful campus, supportive community, and partnership with Otero Junior College and Lamar Community College, Ft Lyon offers the unique opportunity to effectively recover our state’s most vulnerable homeless individuals by simultaneously providing housing, supportive services for substance abuse & mental health, and vocational training. There is no such opportunity available like this.
This partnership between local, state and federal governments and public and private sector partners will be the most collaborative and comprehensive effort ever made to address Colorado’s homeless challenge. The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) will be the program administrator in partnership with local health and behavioral care services, Bent County will be the onsite facility administrator, and the Dept of Local Affairs will oversee the program coordination.
The size of the Ft Lyon campus, coupled with the relationships which CCH has with the homeless community, creates the unprecedented opportunity to provide immediate services when and where they are most needed in order to ensure the best chance of a successful recovery.
Ft Lyon’s rural environment provides a peaceful setting and fresh start for homeless individuals to recover away from the urban environment that currently enables them. This rural model has been proven effective at Harvest Farm in Wellington.
This program will begin with 80 clients, increase to 200 clients by July 2014, and maintain a population of 300 clients by July 2015. This program could begin operation within 60 days after funding approval.
Participation will be voluntary, and participants will be evaluated to ensure that they demonstrate both the need and the desire to recover. Transportation will be provided to and from the campus on a weekly basis.
After completing their recovery and training, participants will be seamlessly reintegrated back into the community of their choice with existing permanent housing vouchers, continued supportive services, and workforce assistance. The end goal is to recover and reintegrate these individuals as productive members of society, not just get them off the streets.
Governor Hickenlooper is requesting $2.74 million to operate the Ft Lyon facility through June 2014; this funding request is matched by National Mortgage Settlement funds. Residents would be eligible for federal benefits and supportive services; the state’s expenses can be reduced a minimum of 25% with these federal funds and grants from private foundations.
The public spends an avg of $43,240 in medical, mental health, substance abuse treatment, jail incarceration, and temporary shelter costs for a chronic homeless person living on the street. Ft Lyon will reduce this cost by 60%, averaging $16,813/ person.
This program will potentially recover 100-200 of Colorado’s most vulnerable homeless individuals every year, and make a significant step toward the goal of ending homelessness in Colorado.
This program will generate over $2.3m annually to the local economy and restore a critical part of the regional economy.
REQUEST: Please support SB-210 (Ft Lyon) to provide $2.74m to operate this much-needed program through June, 2014