In a re-launch of its community-wide giving project, the city of Colorado Springs has joined forces with the Springs Rescue Mission for a work engagement program.
Donations to the city’s HelpCOS initiative will fund the “Help COS My City Project,” a monthly neighborhood clean-up crew made up of Springs Rescue Mission residents.
In return for their labor, residents gain valuable work experience, referrals from the Rescue Mission to sustainable employment, and a reserved place in the men’s or women’s shelter, according to a Dec. 3 news release from the city.
“If you ask residents why they are participating, the first answer you will get is that they love their city and they want to give back,” Travis Williams, vice president of the Springs Rescue Mission, said in the news release. “This program is a constructive way for them to do that while gaining the skills they need to transition out of homelessness and into a more sustainable, dignified and healthy lifestyle.”
Crews will do monthly clean-ups in the Mill Street neighborhood, which is home to the Springs Rescue Mission campus, city spokeswoman Jamie Fabos said. The city will provide equipment and vests through donations received for the HelpCOS program, and its neighborhood services division will pick up the collected trash, she said. Urban Steam will donate coffee to the workers.
The program may eventually expand beyond the Mill Street neighborhood based on staffing and funding, Fabos said.
The project fulfills an obective of the city’s 2019 Homelessness Initiative, said Andrew Phelps, the city’s homelessness response and prevention coordinator.
“We are proud of the progress we have made with the Homelessness Initiative so far, and this objective in particular has a lot of potential to give individuals experiencing homelessness a path towards employment and hopefully permanent housing,” Phelps said in the release.
Visit www.HelpCOS.org or text HelpCOS to 719-667-873 to learn more or donate.