COLORADO SPRINGS – Time is running out for folks living in RVs on the streets of Colorado Springs.
After midnight on Friday, the city will start enforcing its RV ban, and folks who park on public streets could be ticketed – or towed.
The non-profit group Ecumenical Social Ministries has been working for about four months to help 42 RV owners find a way out.
They’ve helped with vehicle parts and repairs – even tag renewals.
Their goal is to help them move on before they’re forced out.
Earl Benton has welcomed their help.
He moved out to Colorado from Texas four years ago.
Benton only brought his r-v.. and his pup.
“Me and my dog Harley, that’s him right here,” he said, pointing to a photo of himself posing next to the dog, who was rocking white-framed sunglasses.
Benton wanted a new beginning after serving 13 years in prison.
But he’s going to have to start over – again.
Folks with Ecumenical Social Ministries are getting his RV in shape it so he can drive away to avoid getting ticketed.
“They’ve been trying to find us a place to go but with my background, even though I’ve been walking straight and narrow, it just seems like one obstacle after another,” Benton explained.
“I’m feeling really sad for the RV folks that we haven’t been able to find a place for,” said Reverend Ann Steiner Lantz, the executive director of Ecumenical Social Ministries
“These are their homes. This is their life.”
They’ve been working with 42 RV owners.
Some found a place to park with friends and they’re paying a deposit and first month’s rent for three folks to stay at an RV park.
But the rest must go.
“What are we supposed to do? Where are we supposed to go?” Benton asked.
For folks like Benton, a troubled past means a challenging future.
“It’s past bad decisions and now they’re older and they’re sick and they’re hurt and they can’t work,” Lantz described.
“I got rheumatoid arthritis,” Benton pointed out.
“I have to take a shot once a week. If I don’t take a shot, I can hardly bend my hands.”
And now, he’s handing off his fate to someone else.
“I just leave it in God’s hand.”
ESM raised $19,000 to help pay for these folks’ expenses.
When it comes to those they moved into an RV park, they paid about $1,200 for each person’s rent and security deposits. But the goal is for them to repay that deposit when they get back on their feet.