Local organization helps those displaced by Colorado Springs RV ban

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A city-wide recreational vehicle ordinance approved Tuesday by Colorado Springs city council bans RVs from parking on the street anywhere in the city.

The ordinance is going into effect in two weeks, but enforcement doesn’t begin until June 1.

After the first reading passed in December, the city council delayed further votes, giving local organizations time to reach out.

Meanwhile, Ecumenical Social Ministries, or ESM, is helping people affected find permanent homes or somewhere else to go.   

ESM Executive Director Ann Steiner Lantz said she was skeptical about how it would go at first, but after making a lot of progress, it shows sometimes all people need is someone who cares. 

“I was told by leaders of various organizations that I was crazy for taking this on,” Lantz said. “So it wasn’t a thing where we passed it and then said ‘Oh, by the way, there’s nowhere for you to go.'”  

In the last few months, they were focusing on the Sierra Madre and Moreno area in downtown Colorado Springs.

“We’ve got most of the people on their way somewhere else, and so it feels really good,” Lantz said. “It really is a grim living situation.” 

ESM has given them propane to stay warm this winter, gas vouchers to travel to family, or just taken away a barrier that been standing in their way. One couple was trying to get to Missouri and just needed glasses to be able to drive. 

Many of the people living in the few RVs remaining in that spot have physical and mental disabilities.   

“This is the last step for them before they’re the streets, and these are folks that will not make it on the streets,” Lantz said.

She is asking the city for money because she hoping to raise $47,000 in the next few weeks to get people set up in a local RV park.

“We have been working with a local RV park owner and we are hopeful we can move up to eight RVs into that park,” Lantz said. “The city and ESM are working at raising the money for rent and utilities there for six months and also to provide case management.”

It’s an area where RVs are allowed to be, but because they are in negotiations still, they aren’t releasing the location just yet. 

The first ticket costs $25. The cost goes up from there, and ultimately your RV could be impounded.  

“Their home will be in jeopardy,” Lantz said.

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