Celebrating COS: Serving the community through partnerships

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This blog is one in a series of four end of year “Celebrations” marking the past year for the City of Colorado Springs. 

Colorado Springs City Government serves our community in partnership with other organizations and individuals. Our thanks go out to all the partners who helped make Colorado Springs an amazing community to live, work, and play in 2021. 

$3.3 million in relief grants 

The City of Colorado Springs Community Development Division awarded more than $3.3 million in pandemic relief grants to Colorado Springs homeless service providers through the second round of CARES Act Emergency Solutions Grant funding (ESG-CV2). 

The ESG program assists individuals and families in quickly regaining stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis or homelessness.  

Military Friendly Employer

The City of Colorado Springs was named a Top 10 Military Friendly Employer® (Rank 10 Gov/Non-Profit) and a Top 10 Military Spouse Friendly Employer® (Rank 2 Gov/Non-Profit) for its performance in hiring, supporting, and advancing the careers of veterans and military spouses. 

“The City of Colorado Springs greatly values the contributions that members of our armed forces, their spouses, and their families contribute to our community, and I am extremely proud that we have an incredible group of veterans and military spouses who have chosen to continue their public service as City employees,” said Mayor John Suthers.  

Regional vaccination campaigns 

The "Don't Wait. Vaccinate!" campaign supported by the City of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, and El Paso County Public Health, encourages Colorado Springs and El Paso County residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine to help our community overcome the pandemic. 

City staff supported El Paso County Public Health and the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency ManagementThe City and County are consolidating their Offices of Emergency Management in an effort to optimize staff resources, establish a single point of contact during major incidences and enhance communication both during and after an event. The new office, the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management (PPR-OEM) will support operations during a disaster or emergency in El Paso County and Colorado Springs.Because disaster knows no jurisdictional boundaries, we can most efficiently prepare for an emergency and respond to one by coordinating our efforts on a regional basis. The establishment of the PPR-OEM will allow the county and the city to more effectively coordinate and assist first responders in an emergency as well as preparing the government and the community for a disaster. in public health awareness efforts. 

Affordable housing

In 2019, the City of Colorado Springs made land available to Greccio Housing to develop affordable senior housing in our community. The “Atrium at Austin Bluffs” provides needed affordable housing to seniors and others. The development opened in November 2021, providing 54 units of affordable senior housing that is sorely needed in our community. 

The City of Colorado Springs, El Paso County Housing Authority, The Independence Center, Silver Key, Envida, and other partners have worked together to develop this affordable senior living option with 42 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom units, a wellness center, exercise , game, and IT rooms, and even a rooftop deck.  

Rental assistance for families impacted by the pandemic 

City partners with local and state organizations to provide rental assistance for families impacted by the pandemic 

In 2021, the City of Colorado Springs received more than $25 million in Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funding through two pieces of federal legislation.  

The City partnered with Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs to administer the program and with the Pikes Peak United Way to reduce barriers to receiving assistance. The funds are designed to help families financially impacted by the pandemic or at risk of homelessness. 

Since the program opened in March 2021, this program has helped approximately 2,000 families in Colorado Springs avoid eviction and remain stably housed this year. The program will extend into 2022 and remain open to eligible renters as funds allow.  

WorkCOS program expands in Colorado Springs 

WorkCOS is a City-led work program that employs people experiencing homelessness to do median maintenance throughout our community. Starting in March of 2020, this program gives employment and hope to some of our community’s most vulnerable. WorkCOS grew from the City’s Homelessness Initiative as a pilot and was funded via PPRTA funds. Because of its success, the program doubled in size in 2021, going from 4 to 8 WorkCOS participants and is now partially funded via the City’s general fund. 

WorkCOS is a partnership between the City of Colorado Springs and local homeless services nonprofits, including the Springs Rescue Mission. Our local nonprofits act as a feeder into the City work program as positions open. Since its inception, WorkCOS has employed 18 homeless individuals. 6 have graduated the program and 2 are now full-time employees. Even though this is a small program, we are very proud of the impact it has had on the WorkCOS participants. For many experiencing homelessness, employment is the key to ending homelessness. 

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