On July 10, 2018, the Colorado Springs City Council voted 6-2 to pass an ordinance that bans camping within 100 feet of city waterways and concrete drainage canals. Violations of the new ordinance are punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and/or 189 days in jail.
The Colorado Springs Faith Leaders Table of Together Colorado is working on raising awareness and conditions for homeless citizens in Colorado Springs. Rev. Michael Tassler (Grace Lutheran Church) and Rev. Alycia Erickson (Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church) implored the council to consider a delay in implementing the camping ban within 100 feet of waterways, which is where many of the campers live.
“While the effort to delay the implementation of the ban failed, important connections were made with council members and the non-profit community. These connections are already proving helpful in our work to establish a sanctioned camp for homeless people in Colorado Springs, so that they need not face the added instability of constant evictions,” Rev. Daniel Smith, Colorado Springs Faith Leaders Table, explained.
Both pastors addressed the council and asked for just, equitable, and compassionate responses as the ban is implemented.
“Our work continues as we try to address the lack of affordable housing in the Colorado Springs area and struggles facing those who are unhoused,” Rev. Alycia Erickson wrote in response to the City Council’s decision to move forward with the camping-ban ordinance.
In related news, read Rev. Dr. Douglas R. Sharp’s latest column: Criminalizing homelessness is not the answer