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Pueblo’s invisible homeless: The families

Figures show Pueblo homeless families have increased, and advocacy group says most families aren’t even counted

Photo PULP

Felicia and her two teenage children have been living in a state of flux since 2010.

On this August morning she wouldn’t give her last name at the Pueblo Community Soup Kitchen on West Seventh Street in Pueblo. Over a coffee and a braided, glazed doughnut, she explained her situation.

Felicia is the mother of two children, Jeramiah, 15, and Angelina, 12. She says her grandparents provide her and the children with a place to shower and sleep but since 2010 her housing situation has been tenuous.

Felicia tried living in public housing in what she calls “the projects,” more formally known as the Sangre de Cristo Apartments on Crawford Street. “We vacated the premises,” she says. “It was unsafe to live there [referring to the noise and rowdiness of other tenants], and I was worried for my daughter.”

Despite her current predicament, Felicia insists, “Everything is fine. I just want my own house.”

She has tried to find work but, “They [employers] don’t want to offer me jobs.” Besides, she says, raising two children and caring for her grandparents in her circumstances is a full-time job in itself. She is reluctant to talk about the father of her children only to say she has never been married.

A notable increase

Felicia and her family are not alone. The Denver-based Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, or CCH, shows the number of homeless adults with children in Pueblo County has jumped 10 percent over the past four years. That represents an increase from 540 adults of child-rearing age (18 to 44 years old) in 2014 to 597 this year. By way of comparison, the overall population of homeless individuals in the same age bracket in Pueblo County rose by only about 6 percent during the same time period – from 1,301 in 2014 to 1,381 this year.

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