COLORADO SPRINGS - High crime and high cost are some of the reasons why the Salvation Army in Colorado Springs says it will no longer send its food truck to a local park to feed the homeless.
Dorchester Park on Nevada Avenue and Las Vegas Street is known to house large groups of homeless individuals.
Five days a week the Salvation Army brings its food truck prepared to serve up to 200 homeless. However, Captain David Kauffman, the El Paso County Coordinator for the SA, says fights break out on an almost regular basis, creating safety concerns for volunteers.
"There has been some fist fights, quite a few of them. There haven't been too many nights where I haven't heard these reports," Kauffman says.
According to the Colorado Springs Police Department, since January of 2017, there have been 393 calls to police about something going on at the Dorchester Park. There have also been 42 cases where the suspect was identified as being homeless.
Springs Rescue Mission, which is about a block and a half away from the park, agrees with the Salvation Army’s decision.
Travis Williams the Vice President of Advancement for the Springs Rescue Mission says, “The situations there, they're not safe, they're dangerous. And it's not a great place because it is an open area."
He adds that it's not just fighting that is causing problems, but other illegal activity at the park.
“It's not uncommon for folks who are experiencing homelessness to have some sort of addiction. So there can be illegal drugs and different things that are happening in that kind of environment."
Cost is another reason why the SA is moving the truck elsewhere. Captain Kauffman says it costs them $150,000 a year to feed the homeless at Dorchester Park.
Also, with the Springs Rescue Mission being so close to the park, Kauffman says it seems that they were duplicating services.
The Salvation Army hopes that by moving the truck to different locations in Colorado Springs, the homeless population at Dorchester Park will start to go to other places to get help.
"We see this as actually a good thing for the people in the park it will help them to reach out to services a block and a half away at Springs rescue mission," says Kauffman.
The food truck will continue to serve the homeless until September or October.