Sheriff’s Office prepares to clear out large homeless camp in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — El Paso County deputies are preparing for a major clean up of one of the city’s biggest homeless camps.

The camp is located off the Martin Luther King bypass and I-25. The volunteer group Keep Colorado Beautiful plans to come in and completely clean out the area but before doing so they’ve asked the Sheriff’s Office and the police department to step in and assist with the clean up efforts.

Last Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Office posted several notices around the homeless encampment giving folks nearly a week to move everything out.

“It sucks,” said Susan Cole. “What are we suppose to do?”

Cole has lived near the bypass for 8 years now and doesn’t quite understand why officials are kicking her out.

“Well if they leave us alone we’d probably be happy,” said Cole. “As long as we leave our garbage next to the road, they come pick it up, what’s the big problem?”

Cole is one of nearly 100 people who will have to find somewhere else to live but many like herself refuse to seek help at one of the city’s two large homeless shelters.

“We have individuals who do not want to take advantage of the services we provide in this community for people who find themselves down on their luck, homeless, however you want to term it and so it is their choice to stay homeless,” said Jacqueline Kirby, a spokeswoman with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

A growing concern has been the amount of trash and litter that’s piled up alongside the creek bed and because it’s so close to a water source it’s become an obvious health and hazard concern.

“Not surprising but it’s nasty,” said Cole. “Get more and more people coming this way, the more trash you get.”

“You enter in the health hazards, the human waste going into the creeks and where those creeks and what bodies of water those feed,” said Kirby. “There’s a myriad of issues that go into this.”

Despite the warning and the potential consequences, Cole says she doesn’t plan on leaving the area that she calls home.

“I’m going to sit right here in the middle of the roadway,” she said. “I’m standing my ground…we’ve got rights too.”

Those living there have until Wednesday morning to remove their belongings before facing possible fines and tickets.

 

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