COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The City of Colorado Springs together with El Paso County Public Health, the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency ManagementThe City and County are consolidating their Offices of Emergency Management in an effort to optimize staff resources, establish a single point of contact during major incidences and enhance communication both during and after an event. The new office, the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management (PPR-OEM) will support operations during a disaster or emergency in El Paso County and Colorado Springs.Because disaster knows no jurisdictional boundaries, we can most efficiently prepare for an emergency and respond to one by coordinating our efforts on a regional basis. The establishment of the PPR-OEM will allow the county and the city to more effectively coordinate and assist first responders in an emergency as well as preparing the government and the community for a disaster. and members of the Pikes Peak Area Continuum of Care have operated a community isolation shelter at the City Auditorium since April 1, 2020. The isolation shelter serves individuals infected or suspected to be infected with COVID-19 who are currently experiencing homelessness. As public health efforts continue to work toward reducing infection rates and in preparation for the winter months ahead, the isolation shelter will continue to operate at the City Auditorium until at least the spring of 2021.
The shelter serves people who are experiencing homelessness and show symptoms of or test positive for COVID-19, but who do not need hospitalization.
“People without homes are among those facing the most severe consequences of COVID-19,” said Jennifer Mariano, Community Health Partnership director of programs. “For older adults and those with pre-existing health conditions experiencing homelessness, there is increased risk of severe complications or death. Living in shelters or on the streets makes it almost impossible to have access to clean masks, observe social distancing, and practice frequent hand-washing. Having the City Auditorium available for individuals without homes to respite from COVID-19 not only helps mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spread among our homeless neighbors, but it also reduces the potential spread of COVID-19 to community members who might otherwise interact with a homeless neighbor who had nowhere else to go.”
The shelter can currently house 70 individuals, with the capacity to expand to 100, if needed. Since opening, it has served more than 100 unique individuals. The City Auditorium, located at 221 East Kiowa Street, is owned, managed and maintained by the City of Colorado Springs.