COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The leader of a Colorado Springs homeless advocacy group believes it's time to end the program that helped more than 600 homeless people find a new start after living creek side in tents back in 2009.
Most of those homeless men and women found success at the Aztec Motel through the Homeless Outreach Program. If they agreed to stay sober, they could live there and receive job training. Most left with a job.
"We turn the users of tax-paying dollars into tax-paying citizens who are self- sufficient and now contribute to the system," said Homeward Pikes Peak Director Bob Holmes.
Recently, Holmes said he's seen a new need in the community.
"There's really no program in this area for women who want to quit using drugs and alcohol but simultaneously want to keep their kids," said Holmes.
Holmes said allowing mothers with substance-abuse issues at the Aztec as it is right now creates difficult situations. If they relapse, they're kicked out and risk losing their kids to the foster system. He said trying to treat mothers for addiction with the threat of losing those children over their head was like putting tiny bandage on the real problem.
The Aztec will close in mid-November and could reopen in January as a rehabilitation center for women with kids if renovations to the hotel are complete by then.
Holmes said part of the reason this is an option is because of clinical options within walking distance of the Aztec Motel on Platte Avenue.
Holmes said help will still be available to those currently staying at the Aztec or to other homeless men and women still in need of assistance.
If you'd like more information about Homeward Pikes Peak and the multiple services it offers or donate to the organization follow this link.