In March of 2021, El Paso County received nearly $140 million as a part of the $1.4 trillion economic stimulus bill known as the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”). County leaders knew this was an unprecedented opportunity to help citizens within the community, bolster the local economy, and improve infrastructure around Southern Colorado.
Numerous businesses, organizations, and programs around the County were given an opportunity to submit requests for grants that would aid in the County’s efforts to pull its residents out from the mire produced by COVID-19’s global impact.
Here, we aim to share the stories of those whose goal is simple: to help neighbors in need. These stories will range from aid to local businesses to help keep their doors open, to new programs focused on supporting our most vulnerable populations, or even larger infrastructure projects to keep El Paso County one of the country’s most desired places to live.
Stay tuned to this page as we will continually make updates sharing more stories.
STORIES IN YOUR COMMUNITY
The Pikes Peak Business & Education Alliance’s (PPBEA) focus is on opening up the world of work to students through interactions with local businesses. The funding provided to the PPBEA from ARPA is used to staff four full-time employees, offer 100 paid internships for students experiencing their first forays into the workforce, and create professionally developed videos to share their story.
We believe that all students and their parents or guardians deserve to be armed with the facts about jobs and careers in this rapidly changing economic landscape.
-Bob Gemignani, PPBEA Director
Since their inception in 1972, Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado’s core purpose has been to bridge the gap between hunger and abundance. With the funding that they received from El Paso County through ARPA grants, Care and Share has been able to create programs and provide resources for thousands of citizens in need.
You really have to be aware of what’s going on around you, because some of your friends, family, co-workers, or employees may need your help out there. If you can recognize those people that need help, and get them on the Care and Share website or to one of our food pantries – this is the organization that’s going to be able to help.
-Nate Springer, Care and Share President and CEO
Back when Springs Rescue Mission began in 1996, their founders provided sandwiches to homeless people in Colorado Springs in parks and under bridges. Now, Springs Rescue Mission’s vision is to see lives transformed and filled with hope as the community works together to fight homelessness, poverty and addiction. To help make that vision a reality, they are using funding provided by El Paso County from ARPA grants to offer Intensive Outpatient Programs for those looking to improve themselves.
Our hope and our goal is to see lives transformed and filled with hope. That’s what we’re looking for, is to see folks who may be in a rough situation, but how can we help them move towards better – whatever better might be for them.
-Travis Williams, Springs Rescue Mission Chief Development Officer
Solid Rock Community Development Corporation seeks to support a revitalized Southeast Colorado Springs that becomes a destination area for living, business development, and diverse culture and attractions through innovative community collaboration. They are working to accomplish this through housing diversity advocacy and development, business development support, facilitating healthy community connections, and policy advocacy within the community and state.
We often say this is about a hand up, not a hand out. How do we assist our families and serve in a way that’s not demeaning? We try to exemplify that in the service that we provide. We would love everyone to know that food is readily available, and everybody, from every aspect of life, falls on hard times sometime — it doesn’t matter who you are.
-Ben Anderson, Solid Rock Community Development Corporation Executive Director
Catholic Charities of Central Colorado provides social services throughout a 10-county area, with most of the services targeted to people living in Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, El Paso County and Douglas County. Their efforts to transform lives through relationships that build individual resiliency and thriving communities continue to be a boon for the region. With the funding received from ARPA grants, Catholic Charities aims to build out their behavioral health needs surrounding addiction and mental health disorders.
Our staff have open hearts and feel very privileged to get to walk alongside folks in their most vulnerable time. We really want to wrap up people in support, and ARPA grant funds have helped us to do that.
-Allie Warner Orozco, Catholic Charities of Central Colorado Behavioral Health Specialist
Pikes Peak United Way’s mission is to enhance youth success and family stability in the Pikes Peak Region by leading and lifting the most vulnerable in our community with mentorship, life resources and real job opportunities. Using funds received via ARPA grants, they are tackling this mission head-on. They have opened and are expanding the Family Success Center, a place where community partners join together in one convenient location to remove barriers, such as transportation and childcare.
The premise of the Family Success Center is around education. It’s around finding a pathway where you can go from either not having a high school diploma, or a college degree, to a certification program with a two-generational approach. So that while you are working on bettering yourself, your child is also in a place that has safety and can do additional literacy training.
-Heather Steinman, Pikes Peak United Way Chief Operating Officer
NAMI Colorado Springs is an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the United States’ largest grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with mental illness. Their programs and support groups are peer-led and always free to the community. With the funding received via ARPA grants, NAMI is expanding their space and hiring more staff to provide more programs for those in need.
This whole idea that you can come to a place, or call a place, and access someone or access a community of people who understand what it is that you’re going through because they’ve lived it – that’s something that a lot of people don’t realize is out there and certainly don’t realize can be incredibly influential and a positive element in recovery from a mental health challenge.
-Kirk Woundy, NAMI Colorado Springs Director of Strategy and Operations
Care and Share
Catholic Charities of Central Colorado
Springs Rescue Mission
Solid Rock Community Development Corporation