El Paso County officials plan to finish clearing out multiple homeless encampments along B Street in the Stratmoor Hills neighborhood this month.
The Sheriff’s Office says the camps have caused “dangerous conditions,” both for occupants and nearby residents, including a murder and fire in October, according to a Dec. 30 EPCSO release. County Fire Chiefs had pleaded with the Board of County Commissioners to take action on the issue after the Oct. 10 fire, which threatened several homes in the neighborhood.
Officials were previously unable to clean up the camps because they are located on private property. But in November, a district court judge ordered that county Code Enforcement and EPCSO personnel could do so to ensure public safety, the Sheriff’s release says. The ruling was a result of a lawsuit filed by the county attorney.
All but one of the camps were cleared as of Dec. 30, and the area will be fully cleaned up by the end of January, the release says.
“In general, and as has been evidenced by these particular camps, crime and dangerous conditions are often inherent to the daily life of those experiencing homelessness,” the release says. “Conversely, the quality of life of housed persons living and working in that immediate area has also certainly been degraded by the presence of these camps.”
EPCSO encouraged people experiencing homelessness and those who know them to seek support from the several organizations that provide shelter and services in Colorado Springs and the county. The city of Colorado Springs shares a list at coloradosprings.gov/gethelp.