Elected Officials Visited Fort Lyon Following the Release of a State Audit Highlighting the Effectiveness of a Unique Program Helping Homeless People Fight Addiction

Pueblo, CO – Following the release of a state audit regarding the effectiveness of the Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community Program last month, elected officials today visited the facility to see firsthand how the program is helping end homelessness and fight drug addiction in southern Colorado.

“After the audit committee’s findings, I thought it was imperative that my colleagues and I visit Fort Lyon to see the excellent work our state is doing to support our homeless population, particularly our homeless veterans,” said Senator Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo). “From our visit today, it is clear that this program is having a profound impact on one of our state’s most vulnerable populations. I would like to thank the many people and organizations who worked tirelessly to ensure this program has been, and will continue to be a success.”

In 2013, Garcia co-sponsored bi-partisan legislation in the House to convert the former Fort Lyon Correctional Facility into a transition center for homeless people and military veterans. The legislation secured millions of dollars in funding to provide substance abuse support services, mental healthcare, transitional housing, and job training to more than 300 people – a majority of whom are homeless veterans.

“I sponsored this legislation five years ago because there was an incredible need to provide assistance to our armed service members who were returning from combat operations without the resources to support themselves. As a result, many were living on the streets, struggling to find employment, and fighting substance abuse,” said Garcia.

Five years later, a state audit released last month found that nearly 50 percent of participants got permanent housing when they left Fort Lyon, and another 29 percent moved into transitional housing.

“I’m encouraged by the initial findings from the audit. When we introduced this legislation, we had a vision for a program that wouldn’t just address homelessness, but also address the underlying issues of homelessness such as substance abuse or a lack of job training. It is clearly that our vision is having a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of Coloradans,” added Garcia.