October 29, 2021 | NEWS

Students produced this piece in a first-year writing seminar at Colorado College taught by Corey Hutchins. 

South Nevada Avenue in Colorado Springs is in transition. 

The city has designated as an urban renewal zone roughly a quarter-mile stretch of this busy road about three miles south of Colorado College’s campus. The street’s facelift includes a public-private project, launched six years ago, that seeks to transform this part of town from what the city has said is a “blighted corridor” into an attractive spot for tourists.

These days, a look south down this section of Nevada that is part of the CanAm Highway, which runs from Canada to Mexico, can feel like casting a gaze across two Americas. 

On the west side of South Nevada, shiny new stores, eateries, and plazas have popped up and gleam in the sun. There’s a Chick-fil-A, a Natural Grocers, and a Smashburger. There’s a European waxing salon, a new taphouse and pizzeria. A Sprouts Farmers Market is coming and one developer has even teased that a “top brand” hotel with a “world-renowned chef” is on the horizon. All the while, construction crews move boulders and pour concrete for a Creekwalk promenade that winds behind this new development. 

The east side of Nevada might as well be a different world. Signs from mid-century motels loom over low-slung storefronts and crumbling sidewalks. Some have little paint left, and some of the stores face closure. Patches of grass and dirt lining the sidewalks on the east side can be full of urban detritus. A fast-food row of Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and KFC line the north end of the stretch offering some of the few beacons of light on the east side at night. 

If the story of modern Colorado Springs were a novel, this part of town might make for a memorable, if gritty, character. The daily newspaper has described South Nevada’s past reputation as a “seedy area” home to a “collection of 1950s-era motels, used-car lots and pawnshops.” City officials have told local media that “crime was common along the corridor, which also was frequented by transients.” 

Inspired by a This American Life episode called “24 Hours at the Golden Apple” and other city profiles conducted by local news organizations in other parts of the country, 11 students in a first-year writing seminar at Colorado College spent half a day in South Nevada to get a feel for the changing place.

What we found was sometimes heartbreaking and sometimes heartwarming. We talked to people who live on the street and a worker who sleeps in her car. We talked to a tavern regular, an innkeeper, Air Force students, and those just passing through. For some, the changes are complicated. For instance, a worker at a tire shop complimented the area’s new aesthetic, before saying he worries the same redevelopment effort means “they are tearing us down here by the end of the year.”

We watched everyday scenes play out on a day in America and we took note. We learned that it might only take 20 minutes on the side of the road scribbling in a notebook before someone in a beaten-down van leers out a window and hawks a loogie in your direction. Just as quickly, we learned of the compassion of someone who has fought to help this neighborhood in the past and continues that fight today. 

What we offer here is by no means comprehensive, and we acknowledge our own privilege in this endeavor that began as a field assignment for class. We offer it as a snapshot in time in the fall of 2021 on a random Friday in October. It gave us a more textured picture of a part of this city that is now our home. We hope that the people who spoke with us, and those who live along this part of South Nevada and spend their days and nights here, in this place of motels and bulldozers, will find their voices represented.

7:37 a.m.: Outside Vanguard Kindergarten

Tucked behind a nearly deserted shopping area, four attendants in neon yellow-green vests direct the traffic of parents dropping their kids off at school. In the crosswalk with a large stop sign, one gestures for parent-child duos to cross. 

As a line of cars coils around the building, children pull their parents by the hand, rushing to get into the warmth of school. It’s a windy morning, and gusts seep through the alleyways; the attendants rotate positions. At a side entrance, one traffic attendant greets the kindergarteners. Each greeting is unique. Whether a handshake, hug, wave, or fist bump, children are welcomed into the last class of the week. 

Once their children are inside, parents hurry back to their cars to escape the cold and begin their days. Within minutes, the lot has nearly emptied. A brief pause before another wave of energetic kindergarteners arrive. — Kathryn Hawkes

7:40 a.m.: Southern Cross Laundry

The red LED light reads “Closed.” A woman in a black dress reaches to the black metal box at the top and unlocks the door which slides to let in the brisk morning air. The light flickers and transforms to read “Open.” Entering the Southern Cross Laundry through the automatic door, the beige walls are lined with silver and white-colored washers and dryers standing still. 

A shelf stacked with take-one-leave-one books include some in Spanish and English, children’s books, and a Christmas book. A reading nook with two chairs, foldable-table, and magazine rack, is provided for those waiting on their laundry. 

The laundromat is quiet save for the muffled sound of South Nevada Avenue, and the History Channel playing on a small TV: something about Nazi technology and extraterrestrials. — Theodor Hopfer

8:18 a.m.: McDonald’s

“Are these anybody’s keys?”

Mid-rush at McDonald’s, people scatter among tables. Two men eat together, three women wait in line. Employees hustle. A man in a maroon hoodie and beige jacket asks the manager and an employee about the keys. No one responds.

Hopefully the keys are “to a nice car,” jokes a tall balding man wearing blue jeans and a grey fleece. A few feet away, a woman taps her friend’s shoulder and points at the keys. The friend turns to the man holding them and nods. A nonverbal understanding passes between them as she takes the keys and puts them in her bag.

Outside, shards of clear and blue glass sparkle in the sun on the pavement as cars crawl through the drive-thru. Casting a shadow over the parking lot is a high metal pole, the golden arches on top. Morning in America. It could be anywhere. — Kathryn Hawkes

9:25 a.m.: Bethel’s Ivywild Pharmacy 

Bethel’s Ivywild Pharmacy stands out against the newer corporate franchises that have recently sprung up behind it. The sign is faded but still legible. The store is organized, the shelves well kept, with the same spacing between each product. Fluorescent light beams down on each inch of space.

Behind the counter a friendly face is helping a customer with a prescription. Shannon Bethel has owned this pharmacy since 2014. She is proud of her business and what it does for the community. The back of her business cards reads “our family is working together for your health!”

Recently, rising property values brought new attention to this area that wasn’t necessarily good for her and her business, she says. 

Her tone changes to tired, and almost hopeless.

An out-of-state group bought her building, she says, and upped the rent. She points to water stains on the ceiling and a crooked door letting sunlight and cold air through its misaligned sides. That was two years ago, and since then Bethel says she has been fighting for upkeep, while paying more for rent than to her previous landlord.

“It kinda makes me feel bad because I grew up in Colorado, I was born and raised in Colorado,” she says, “and it seems like Colorado is being taken over … we’re renewing with people that don’t even live here, and that’s a problem.”

Bethel is worried “normal every-day-Joe folks” like her can’t afford to keep up with the rise in prices in the area. “The people that have lived here this whole time are kinda getting screwed,” she says. “They’re getting pushed out.” — James McFall

10:18 a.m.: Johnnies’ Liquor Store

There’s a whiff of cigarette smoke in the air when you roll up at Johnnies’ Liquor. 

The atmosphere instantly switches, from the airy stores outside, turning more dim, the walls packed to the ceiling with bottles. The tiles are peeling, and there’s a glassy red overhead light reading “Budweiser” in elegant gold lettering. 

The cashier is a 20-something-looking man in a baseball cap and a Rangers Bikers Soccer shirt. He has worked at Johnnies’ for two years.

He says he believes that policing and security measures haven’t been “effective enough” to keep out those who might be experiencing homelessness in the area, and the store has “problems with them everyday.”

Johnnies’ has a parking garage, which acts as a “safe haven for the homeless people during bad weather,” he says. They also, according to the cashier, tend to sleep at the storefront. “We issued so many no trespassing tickets, and put no loitering signs all over — but it doesn’t really matter. They’re going to do whatever they’re going to do,” he says.

The cashier also recalls being “blown away” at a man “smoking crack” in the parking lot in broad daylight. “Dude, what the hell are you doing? There’s a cop right there,” he says, recalling the situation.

There’s always interesting stories, he says, when working at a liquor store. — Utshaa Basu

12:40 p.m.: Rodeway Inn & Suites

The woman at the front desk of the Rodeway Inn & Suites is not optimistic. 

She doesn’t see a point to the newness when the city doesn’t address what she believes is the real problem. The shelter population has only expanded since 2017, she says. The inn has had problems in the past.

Once a guy “tried to come behind the counter and beat me up,” she said. The same guy, she says, was the victim of a fatal stabbing recently and she can’t say she has much sympathy. “He picked fights with so many people that he got what was coming to him,” she says.

She’s worked here five years and doesn’t see the area getting better despite the new storefronts. 

Outside the Rodeway Inn a man with sunglasses and a hoodie says he doesn’t have a place to stay. He hasn’t been here in the Springs long. He’s looking for a shower and a place where his 7-year-old son can be safe for a bit. The Inn can’t help. Skye Eddy

1:00 p.m.: Office on South Nevada

K. Anderson knows what it’s like to be without a home.

She used to live near what is now a sprawling car dealership zone, she says, sitting behind a desk in an oversized black sweatshirt. Back then, she fought to keep the name of the street she lived on from changing to Motor City. “Why are you giving us a new identity?” she wondered, back when South Nevada was changing once before.

Now, she’s watching it change again.

They’re trying to give this neighborhood a “new identity,” she says. “Why do that to change urban development? Why not fix the community? Not facelift the community.”

She wishes new apartments could be affordable housing. 

Anderson has spent time on these streets herself. She’s not houseless now — she was a doctoral student at a university, she says — but people who are without homes come to her for advice.

She recounts a time a city unit called the Homeless Outreach Team drove a community known as Tent City out. “Tent City, they policed themselves,” Anderson says. “They had their own rules, they had their own boundaries, and then people come in and, y’know, wipe them out.” 

She was told firsthand the extent to which they were shoved out. “They threw away their personal belongings, they threw away their birth certificates, their ID cards,” she says people told her. 

Anderson worries the new redevelopment might be similar. 

“It’s the whole thing with, y’know, moving people in and saying ‘no you can’t be here anymore. You don’t make Colorado beautiful,’” she says. “Sorry, the humans make Colorado beautiful.”

She now lives on the north end of town, but she says this place is still her community.

“Living down here, on this end of town, I wanted out,” she admits. “But I didn’t want to be pushed out. Because it’s not necessarily the safest area. So that’s why they’re attempting to facelift us. That’s really what it is.” Kenna Grenier

1:10 p.m.: 7-Eleven

The owner of 7-Eleven, Jag Dhillon, has been here for 15 years. “Homeless people,” he says, are “bad for businesses.”

Since much of the redevelopment began, Dhillon says traffic has gotten worse and the roads are not so good. The biggest change he’s seen, he says, is an increase in people experiencing homelessness. 

“The police don’t wanna come until there’s events,” he says. “We have some businesses over here, so we have to call the security guy to come over here too.”

“The only problem is homeless people over here,” he says, knitting his eyebrows and clasping his hands together. “Otherwise, this is all good streets, good businesses. People wanna come and it’s just like that.” — Abby Le

1:50 p.m.: Taco Bell Parking Lot

Justin “Ranger” Ballard sits atop a chained shut bin. Beside him are his mother, a friend, and a cart filled with belongings. 

Today he’s “chillin’.” Normally, though, Ranger walks up and down the street. Finding stuff, helping people out, or being helped out.

The 36-year-old has lived in Colorado Springs since he was 8; homeless for 27 years. He’s been all around South Nevada and has watched it change. They’re “knocking out all the old homeless people,” he says.

His whole family — his mom, dad, and three younger brothers — are all houseless, he says. Right now he’s with his mom on South Nevada, and his dad and brothers are either staying at the homeless shelter or sleeping in the area; he’s not exactly sure.

Because he says he’s not allowed to camp within city limits, he and his family break the law every night when they sleep. “I can’t sleep normally because of PTSD from waking up to cops so many times,” he says. “So, if I sleep, I sleep during the day. At night I constantly move. Cuz they can’t get you for camping if you’re moving.”

He has to be careful. Too many tickets and he could wind up sleeping in jail.

Sleeping on the streets this time of year is getting increasingly dangerous, he says. “Last year we lost like five people to the cold. I like walking around and tryna make sure everybody’s OK,” he says. “Y’know, you can’t just think ‘Oh, he’s sleepin.’ He might not be.”

Ranger says he’s built a rapport with local business owners and would ask for help; however, he says, the businesses are changing. For instance, he would frequently go to a local gas station. He can’t anymore. Along with the new development, Ranger says some businesses used to be more hospitable than they are now. 

“But I’m not a big arguer or fighter,” he says, “so I’ll just walk away.”

Ranger blames people who panhandle and drug deal outside stores for exasperating the harsh treatment. He looks down and scuffs his shoes on the pavement. “I won’t stand outside and hang out, I won’t steal,” he says. “I don’t steal from anybody. Even stores. That’s how my mom raised me. Not to steal. Respect.”

Being on the streets for so long, Ranger has a lot of it figured out. 

“I’m getting comfortable, but I don’t want to get comfortable,” he says. “I don’t want to do this my whole life.”

He wants to get a place to stay so that he can get cleaned up and get a sustainable job. “Can’t go to work stinkin’,” he says. But with the remaining motel’s prices these days and with no affordable housing, that ambition might be hard to attain.

For now all he can do is take it day by day.

“Generally I don’t sit and hang out like this. I’m usually moving,” he says, kicking a tire on his cart. “But I got a flat tire today.” Kenna Grenier

1:50 p.m.: Taco Bell Parking Lot

Acknowledgment is what he wants. 

‘He’ is Jon Dawson, a.k.a Gizmo, and he is currently without a home. He’s sick of people turning a blind eye. Dawson says he “survives on under 300 dollars a month” and has been without a house for nine years. He is wondering where help is. He wonders where the affordable housing is and where funding for shelters is.

When talking about the new development, he says it’s gotten harder to experience homelessness here. He’s been ticketed for trespassing more often and businesses used to leave out food, but now don’t, he says. 

He feels like voices like his aren’t often heard. And that those who speak become targets. He loves “being a target,” he says, adding, “I’d rather speak than to not.” It’s how he was raised. “You see wrong, you make it right.”

He would like to see more collaboration. “Between the businesses, between the normal community, between the police department,” he says. “A collaborative group that can come together and work together to better it, the whole situation.” 

Gizmo wants to start a fund or a nonprofit that will live on after him, helping people. He wants to do it in memory of his husband. “What I do, I do for the people out here, my peers, but I do it in the name, in the honor of my husband David Mesa Robles who passed away March 26 of this year.” 

Mostly, right now, Gizmo wants people to help, however they can. Even if it’s just someone to say “Hey, I see you here.” — Skye Eddy

2:20 p.m.: Ivywild Tavern Bar

A man who calls himself Joe sits at a counter at a long narrow bar under purple neon lights. Rock music plays loudly through speakers. “Old school biker bar shit,” is how he describes the place. 

Ivywild Tavern, a bar behind SecurCare, has been open for around three hours. A few customers are already drinking. 

Asked how he feels about recent development in the area, Joe says in a raspy voice fitting for the atmosphere of the place that he believes the city should clean up the area and add some shelters for those experiencing homelessness. 

“The problem is definitely the unfortunate out there with nowhere to go,” he says. 

Two men appear at the entrance. They pause when they see college students in the bar, but an employee waves them in. They ask for a drink. 

Joe raises his eyebrows and closes his eyes for a little while. Looking down, he continues. He looks at the bartender, the other customers, and his cups more often.

“Every morning, I can’t dedicate two hours of my time to pick [up] enough after people that are destroying the neighborhood,” he says. “And unfortunately, the police department doesn’t have enough resources to take care of that.” — Abby Le

3:15 p.m.: South Nevada

A scuffle over a shopping cart breaks out between a couple in worn attire. Other than the bustling lanes of traffic, few are out this Friday afternoon on the outskirts of Southeast Colorado Springs.

The sky is slightly hazy but otherwise unobstructed by clouds, and although there is a slight breeze, the October air, smelling of fried food and gasoline, isn’t too chilly. Despite the favorable weather conditions, it seems that to many, South Nevada isn’t a destination, but rather a means to get somewhere else. 

Of course, there are exceptions.

“Stop raising your voice,” the man says, grasping the edge of the shopping cart. The woman mutters, collecting her belongings from the pavement. With only one crosswalk within sight, the man finds a gap in traffic and settles down against a street sign on the median, a cardboard sign in hand, to eventually be joined once again by his female companion. 

The now abandoned skeleton of a shopping cart stands awkwardly across the street from the seated pair. It’s different from the shopping cart castle stacked high with supplies and an unusual array of buckets shuttering in the breeze across the street. There, a man huddles under a brown puffy jacket, remaining largely obscured to those who pass by. 

The smell of greasy food emanates from fast food restaurants lining the street in both directions. 

Two men sporting backpacks and knitted winter hats make their way up the avenue asking, “Yo, do you know where the pawn shop’s at?” — Clara Bent

3:34 p.m.: Sidewalk in front of  Big O Tires

The sun beats down on this section of South Nevada’s urban renewal area, compensating for the chilling wind. The quiet air is chopped up by car horns and loud exhausts.

The differences between the eastern and western sides of South Nevada are polarizing. Like a fracture in time the road divides the new from the old. 

One of the most noticeable of these differences is the sidewalks. 

The sidewalks on the western side spread well over six feet, with another three feet of concrete barriers for the protection of pedestrians. The walkway is new and flat. These new sections extend to where South Nevada and Ramona intersect. Past that point, the sidewalks return to an abysmal state.

With the newer sections ending just after a Dunkin’ Donuts, the sidewalks on the eastern side are decrepit at best. Spanning no more than four feet, the concrete is crumbling and pitted. Car ramps every five to 10 feet only bolster this unevenness. 

A young boy stumbles on a ramp and a loud clanging rings out as his metal water bottle hits the ground. He bounces back up quickly but throws a few jabs into a street sign out of frustration. 

“These sidewalks suck,” says a long-time resident calling himself Edward Brown. “I have walked these sidewalks almost every day for the last 72 years, and not a day goes by where I don’t stumble or fall. I’m too old for this, they need to hurry up and fix it.” — Strick Kellogg

4:20 p.m.: Outside Tokyo Joe’s

The sidewalks are littered with cigarette butts and joint roaches. A lingering smell of weed and tobacco smoke swirls in the air. A few hypodermic needles are scattered under one of the benches. Men and women walking around with backpacks and shopping carts full of their belongings stand out against new buildings and sidewalks. 

“They just keep coming,” says a passerby, shooting a glare at a man with his things sprawled out on a bench.

“I have been homeless for 20 years, and I stay here because the shelter and the new benches are nice,” says a different man sitting on one of the benches. He doesn’t want to give his name. “But really most of us are here ‘cause the drugs is here, and the cops isn’t,” he says. “More of them (the police) are starting to go by because of all the new stuff, and the others (people experiencing homelessness) are starting to head out slowly. Makes me sad ‘cause we have been here a long time. It’s good though, I have seen the needle take the lives of too many, so the clean-up is good.”

The man tucks his water bottle into the pocket of a hole-filled sweatshirt. He sweeps some Cheeto crumbs off his lap back into a bag and pockets it before throwing on his backpack and continuing on his way.  — Strick Kellogg

4:40 p.m.: Bus Stop outside Family Dollar

As the sun lowers in the sky, fewer people walk about, however the avenue isn’t quiet just yet.

A Chihuahua yaps from a car in the Natural Grocers parking lot and occasionally a vehicle will swiftly drive by, windows down, blasting rap to compliment the background tune of humming engines.

A woman, bundled up in a funky multi-colored outfit, waits at the bus stop on the corner of E. Navajo Street and CanAm Highway.  

She says she works as a manager for ground transportation and safety in Denver and that, “the city (Colorado Springs) bus system doesn’t know how to manage a bus system, they know how to trash it.” She says Denver’s bus system is better organized, but in Colorado Springs “they run it like they’re doing you a favor.”

“The other problem” she says, “is you have a lot of military people that come here and they’re completely disrespectful. They don’t care because they’re military.”

Today, she has ventured to South Nevada to shop at the Natural Grocers.

As she paces back and forth and fidgets with her hands in wait for a bus, she says she feels safe here during the day, however, “if it’s night, I avoid this area.” 

Eventually a bus arrives, although not the one she says she was planning on taking. She rushes off to speak with the driver, sounding impatient. — Clara Bent

5:13 p.m.: Chick-fil-A

In a busy restaurant, students sporting navy Air Force jackets sprawl across several tables, talking and laughing.

On the way to a game? Nope, a girl says. “We’re going on a Jesus trip.” They are southbound to a mountain retreat, a first year bonding experience.

Another girl shares they “have no idea” what they’re in for. The fried chicken and casual banter seem to calm their nerves. — Kyle Junlong Sun

5:19 p.m.: Outside Natural Grocers

“Yeah, well, this is a high crime area — I mean that’s kind of why I’m here.” 

The guard shifts a bit as he talks, always keeping an eye on the door. Even though he has walked outside, he still faces towards the entrance, ready to respond to trouble. Dark police-like uniform crisp, shoulders high, and voice authoritative, he is the spitting image of security.

The private security guard working on the west side of Nevada Avenue is serious when it comes to the South Nevada area: “I wouldn’t say that crime has gone down,” he says. “There’s just more police patrolling the area. It hasn’t gone up either … I wouldn’t say it’s stable, but not going up or down.” 

As he talks, there are two police cars in the Family Dollar parking lot, within eyesight. South Nevada flows on endlessly, cars and pedestrians hurrying to their next destination. The bright orange label above him reads Natural Grocers, with the O in Grocers replaced with a green apple. 

He stops for a moment to choose his words before he speaks: “I’ve seen a lot more, uh, displaced people around here,” he says. “I don’t know what to call them … but there are more.” — Henry Beers Shenk

5:53 p.m.: Family Dollar

In a red collared shirt, Amber greets each customer with a smile as they enter the only functional door at Family Dollar, chin up and wrinkles in the corners of her eyes.

In just two weeks on the job, she’s made some observations.

“Rich people will look down at you like you’re nothing,” she says as she mimes a dismissive kicking motion at the ground. “It happens to me every day.”

Amber thinks some people earn that reputation. “Some poor people do drugs and steal and hurt people. But some of us just got unlucky. Like me. I live in my car and it’s not because I want to. I’ve had some bad things happen and I’m working my way back up.” — Kyle Junlong Sun

5:54 p.m.: West Sidewalk

Ray Griego walks up the avenue fast, as if he’s frustrated, but when approached he’s calm and polite. His brown dog patiently waits by his side when he stops. A tattoo on his neck reads “Johnny” in cursive lettering. 

“The homeless have taken over the area, man. It’s been going on for the last 10 years, and it doesn’t look like it’s gonna let up anytime,” he says. “They got the park up here. It’s all screwed up, man. You can’t even take your kids there, you know what I mean?” 

He points to the west side, beyond the bright lights of the Natural Grocers, Chick-Fil-A and more, to the woods darkening with the sunset. “The west side is worse, and has always been worse. They got the creek right there that runs through there. They started doing all this —  this stuff is all brand new. All built in the last year, or year and a half, I guess.” 

The dog sits. 

“I think after COVID hit, it just fucked everything up, you know? Everybody was in for a shock once that hit us, you know?”

As he talks about the new projects on the west side and the vague “them” controlling the development, he waves his arm dismissively at the east. 

“All they make you do there is keep up with the paint, and that type of stuff, cosmetically, but other than it’s been this way — they don’t care,” he says. 

He moves on, quickly reverting back to fast walking with his dog. He looks to each side. At 6:48 p.m., he is walking his dog the other way down Nevada on the east side, at the same pace. He does not respond to a passing “Hello.” — Henry Beers Shenk

6:14 p.m.: West Sidewalk by Navajo Street

Bent over on a graffitied bench, knees shaking with head in hands, a woman weeps into a large coat. Bright red wool and a pair of shiny black clogs fade in contrast to her runny makeup, frizzy hair, and yellow-stained teeth, many of which are missing.

She is not OK, she says.

“My husband keeps leaving me. I don’t understand, I keep ending up on the fucking streets,” she says. “I waited for him, I feel like it’s a waste of fucking time. I fucking loved him.”

Her name’s Melissa, but some people call her Tree.

“I keep ending up on the streets and it’s getting colder and all that,” she says. “I been trying to be a good lady, a good, faithful, loyal wife … I’ll be OK. I’ll figure something out. I just, nothing’s going according to plan. Nothing’s working out. I keep ending up on the fucking streets.”

Melissa solicits a cigarette from a stranger.

“I’m gonna get sick,” she says, as the sun shrinks behind the mountains out west. “I keep getting sick in the winter it’s so fucking cold I keep getting sick. Every time I end up in the streets again it fucking sucks. Why did he leave me?” — Kyle Junlong Sun

6:58 p.m.: Intersection of Nevada and Fountain Creek

The low rumble of a Ford F-150 soundtracks the intersection.

The driver waits for a green light. Traffic has picked up as the sun has set, a bustling rush hour heading into the weekend. A woman in an oversized coat with a cardboard sign slowly moves into the large truck’s path, blocking it just before the light changes.

The driver is patient for a few moments while the woman points to her sign, but when it becomes clear she has no plans to move, the truck’s piercing horn suddenly interrupts the engine’s bass line. The sign woman jumps a bit, as if shocked. She yells at the motorist, but relents and moves to the side as the truck roars away.

On the sidewalk, she marches up close to an unsuspecting college student. 

“I’ve seen your future,” she says, her face inches from his after dark on South Nevada. “You’re going to be here forever.” — Henry Beers Shenk

1 Comment

  1. Thanks to these students for making some of our homeless population visible. It is always shocking to find out just how long many of these folks have been living without housing. They are more local than many of us. I hope that your class has looked carefully at Finland’s ‘housing first’ program. I believe that finding housing for our homeless folks would cost significantly less than the urban renewal displacement programs that Colorado Springs embraces.

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