Homeless veterans will have a uniquely supportive permanent housing facility for the first time in El Paso County when Freedom Springs — Mission United begins construction next year, said Pikes Peak United Way President and CEO Cindy Aubrey.
The 50-unit apartment complex will be located at 850 Western Drive in Cimarron Hills, an unincorporated part of El Paso County east of Powers Boulevard and just north of Highway 24. The land was donated to United Way by local developer LeRoy Landhuis, who has already made a second donation.
“We have received a second land donation from LeRoy Landhuis and are in the very early stages of discussing the future use of that property,” Aubrey said.
That property is located at the intersection of Galley and Babcock roads, just west of Powers and north of E. Platte Ave., about a mile and a half from the first property Landuis donated.
Construction of Freedom Springs is scheduled to begin in the spring — it’s expected to be completed by spring 2019 — as a joint effort of United Way, the Vecino Group, Volunteers of America Colorado Branch and Ross Management.
“The partnership applied last year but the application was not approved,” Aubrey said. “We applied again in March 2017 and received a letter of approval from the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority [two weeks ago].”
Funding assistance for the project is being provided by the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, Colorado Department of Housing, Colorado Springs Public Housing Authority, El Paso County and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
All of the apartments will be one-bedroom units except for two, which will feature two bedrooms to accommodate additional family members. Aubrey said the housing is for male and female veterans who are experiencing homelessness.
The combination of affordable housing and onsite case management is the proven model to ending homelessness for veterans, Aubrey said.
“Onsite services will be provided by Volunteers of America Colorado and the facility will be managed by Ross Management,” Aubrey said.
Partners will also be working with Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center to provide transition and wellness services. Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center is located on the west side of the Springs, nine miles from where Freedom Springs will be built.
“We are hoping that we can get a bus donated to transport veterans to Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center,” Aubrey said. “We hope to involve more local nonprofits and our own partner agencies as we move forward.
“We simply must take care of those veterans who put their lives on the line for all of us and are now without a home and without hope. Freedom Springs will be the first permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans in our area. I want those veterans who are homeless to know that we have not forgotten them or what they did for our country,” she said.