Nov 29, 2010 10:10 PM by Jeannette Hynes
Sam Choate drives an hour from Yoder to get help with food and health care at the Sand Creek office of El Paso County Department of Human Services (DHS), located on South Murray Boulevard.
"Medicaid mostly and some food stamps, because right now I'm unemployed," explains Choate.
Marrio Cardenes lost his job in May. He says he can walk to the Sand Creek office from his near-by apartment.
After December 20th, the Sand Creek office will close and thousands of people will have to go to the offices on Spruce for DHS services. Later on, El Paso County DHS will be at the old Intel building on Garden of the Gods Road.
"They're making a bad decision. A real bad decision. Not everybody lives off Garden of the Gods," says Cardenes.
News First 5 used the City of Colorado Springs' bus trip planner. If you live at North Murray Boulevard and Palmer Park, it would take you 15 minutes on the city's bus to get to the Sand Creek DHS office on a Monday afternoon. At the same time of day, getting to the Spruce DHS office would take 33 minutes and a trip to the Garden of the Gods office takes 1 hour.
"It is far for people on the east end of the county. That's going to be a challenge for those folks," acknowledges Arturo Serrano of El Paso County DHS.
Serrano says DHS surveyed the clients who use the Sand Creek office and 80 percent of them get there by car.
Cardenes also arrived by car, but not his own. His sister drove him.
"It's going to be pretty difficult, especially if you don't have money for the bus or anything like that," says Cardenes.
"It'll make it a lot longer drive, but from what I heard it will be a better system, which would be really nice," says Choate.
Serrano says DHS is not only moving to one place, but trying to streamline the system as well in hopes people won't have to sit and wait as long as they do now.
El Paso County DHS plans to keep the Fountain office open.
Beginning Monday December 20, all Sand Creek clients will need to go to 17 N. Spruce for case questions and applications and 105 N. Spruce for EBT cards.
For more information, head to the El Paso County DHS website or call (719) 636-0000.