Housing stability task force debuts new name, talks funding sources
Steamboat Springs — A taskforce working on strategies to help local people in unstable housing situations is gaining momentum and eyeing possible funding sources.
The Routt County Housing Stability Task Force, previously known as the Homelessness Task Force, was renamed last month to better reflect the group’s mission to help those who are homeless or in a variety of transitional or inadequate housing situations.
On Thursday, the group heard from Kippi Clausen, of Colorado’s Rural Collaborative on Homeless Youth, who outlined a handful of possible funding streams the task force might take advantage of.
Clausen discussed how the solutions for youth homelessness, specifically, differ between rural and more urban areas.
“Brick and mortar shelters do not work in a small community,” Clausen said. “For smaller communities, it doesn’t make sense.”
Clausen said the organization she works with has access to grant funding to be divided among rural communities for their efforts to prevent and address youth and young-adult homelessness, including money that could be used for street outreach and to host family support and prevention efforts.
She said the group had earmarked between $5,000 and $7,000 for the Routt County Housing Stability Task Force, if the task force is interested in joining the collaborative.
“You would create your own program that works for your community,” Clausen said.
About a dozen people, primarily from local social services agencies, are part of the task force, which is run by Routt County United Way Executive Director Kate Nowak.
Nowak said the group would need to decide whether it would like to join the collaborative and if so, how the money would be used locally.
“We don’t know what that program is; we just want to do something,” Nowak said.
Since forming the Routt County task force in February, members of the group have been tracking their interaction with people facing housing instability, both adults and children.
“There are a lot of kids here that are very good at couch surfing,” said Michelle Petix, executive director of Partners in Routt County, which runs a school-based mentor program. “Three months ago, I would have never called them homeless. Now, that number in my head has increased.”
The task force plans to meet Aug. 3 for a follow up discussion on Clausen’s presentation.
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Steamboat Free Summer Concerts announced Friday that it will return live music to the Yampa Valley this summer in the form of two concerts scheduled for August and September.