May 9, 2013 3:26 PM by Andy Koen

CC to hold panel discussion on downtown homeless

COLORADO SPRINGS - The issue of panhandling in downtown Colorado Springs is back in the news because the panhandlers themselves are back. Following a failed attempt to completely ban soliciting downtown, Colorado College will host a series of Community Conversations to find better solutions to help the chronically homeless and indigent in the community.

Bob Holmes of Homeward Pikes Peak says a big part of the problem is that panhandlers often succeed in getting money downtown.

"I think there's a real kind of misplaced sense of charity. I don't know if it's a little bit of charity mixed with a little bit of guilt mixed with a little bit of what I call warm fuzzys, I can give somebody 3 dollars and I feel really good."

Holmes says those donations generally support drug and alcohol addictions. The cost to the community increases dramatically as chronically homeless addicts then overdose and must be taken to the hospital. He believes the community needs to expand access to mental health care for the chronically homeless.

Holmes, Suzi Bach, Richard Skorman, James Dixon of the Marian House, M.J. Thompson of the police department Homeless Outreach Team and Sarah Stacy of the Springs Rescue Mission will all take part in a panel discussion Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. at Worner Hall on the C.C. campus.


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