MANITOU SPRINGS — One entrepreneur is taking the fight against homelessness into her own store.
Nicole O’Rorke owns and opened Barn & Swallow boutique in Manitou Springs in August where she employs women who come from difficult circumstances whether that be homelessness, domestic abuse or addiction.
“This is an opportunity for them to have a nice place to come to work and learn what it’s like to be a team and to be supported by other women.” O’Rorke said.
Located right off the round-a-bout where Ruxton Ave and Manitou Ave on the west side of Manitou Springs, she has seen the issue throughout El Paso County. Homeless camps have popped up, cleaned up, just to appear somewhere else.
“We have sort of a crisis on our hands.” O’Rorke says, “I mean, homeless people are struggling and who is helping? If we say we’re going to clean up the trail and move people along where do they go?”
O’Rorke supplies her store with local products and donates a portion of her profits to charities around the region.
She hopes that showing her employees their first steps towards getting their feet under them in life, can show a community a path towards compassion.
“It’s rerally important to me to be able to give people a chance when I can. I can’t save the world necessarily but, I can make a difference,” O’Rorke said, “We only have one life and it’s kind of short so why not band together and build each other up?”
O’Rorke accepts donations at her store and can be found online at barnswallow.org.