Las Animas, CO (Congressional District 4)

__ Infrastructure
__ Economic Development
_X_ Public Services
__ Housing
__ Acquisition
__ Other (please describe):

Project Resources
Other public funds (please list source) ____State Funds ($5m annually)

Project Summary
In 2013, the state of Colorado created the Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community (SRC) through a statute that repurposed a 160-year-old decommissioned military fort in Bent County, Colorado. There were two main goals driving the state’s program design at Fort Lyon: jumpstart the region’s economic engine and pilot an innovative solution to the statewide homeless ness and addiction crisis, with a focus on homeless Veterans. The SRC has the flexibility to adjust as needed to meet each individual resident’s recovery needs. In addition, any Colorado resident with a substance use diagnosis and experiencing or at risk of homeless may access the SRC regardless of income or background and allows it to define success as program exits in which the individual is sober and connected to permanent housing.

Since its inception in 2013, the SRC has served over 1,700 Coloradoans struggling with homelessness and addiction. The 5 year evaluation of the SRC identified significant cost savings as a result of the program, including an average of a 33% decrease in public costs for residents prior to enrollment versus one year post enrollment; this included an 80% reduction in judicial system costs.

Partner engagement
Community mental health centers, federally qualified healthcare centers, substance use treatment agencies, housing coordinators and voucher administrators, workforce development centers and vocational rehabilitation centers, community colleges or GED programs, life skills trainers, and any other providers with experience working with homeless populations

State decision-making
When the Fort Lyon campus was decommissioned as a prison in State fiscal year 2011-2012, Governor Hickenlooper understood the implications for the rural economy of Bent County. He also understood the campus’ history of service to active duty military and Veterans. He directed members of his office, as well as DOLA and Department of Corrections staff to work on a solution. Although the project was initially met with skeptism, the governor was 100% behind it.

What is the status of the project?

Fort Lyon Video

Cassy Westmoreland
Colorado Department of Local Affairs