We understand that there cannot be peace in our community or world without social and economic justice. The Pikes Peak Region is very good at charity – helping meet the immediate needs of people in crisis. What about justice?
The PPJPC is not a charity. Through education, advocacy and community organizing, we strive to address the root causes of poverty: inequality, racism, sexism, classism, militarism, unlivable wages, consumer lifestyle and the negative effects of capitalism and economic globalization.
“Urban Experience” is an immersion experience in homelessness and poverty in Colorado Springs. Over the course of one or two days, participants walk throughout downtown, visiting community agencies and meeting people who face homelessness, poverty, abuse and mental illness.
We offer Urban Experiences to teachers, students, church groups, non-profit organizations and others. School teachers may earn continuing education credit through Colorado Springs D-11. Urban Experience has become a new kind of retreat for youth groups, confirmation classes and congregations celebrating Advent or Lent. We can customize the experience for all schedules and timeframes. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more than 35 years, the J&P has advocated for the rights of homeless and poor people. These folks are typically not represented in local civic discussions, so we try to bring their voice and perspective to the table. In recent years, we opposed efforts by the Colorado Springs City Council to pass no-camping and no-solicitation ordinances. We believe homeless people need compassion and solutions, not laws that criminalize poverty. Through collaboration with city officials, law enforcement and the ACLU, we were able to mitigate any harsh impacts from the 2010 camping ban. The city was much less collaborative in 2012, so we were party to a lawsuit that prevented implementation of the no-solicitation ban.
By interviewing the region’s major mental health providers, we studied the state of mental health services for mentally ill and chronically homeless people. In 2012, we began to advocate for a “Rich Farm” – a sustainable farm on the edge of town where mentally ill and homeless people could live, work in the fresh air and get help. We are now working on a plan to bring this farm to reality. Our Sunrise Farm Working Group is meeting regularly to draft a vision-plan suitable for foundations, partners and the community. We are also researching other horticultural therapy success stories, most notably the Homeless Garden Project in Santa Cruz. We are engaged with Pikes Peak Urban Gardens and Seeds Community Cafe in a pilot project to bring mentally ill and chronically homeless people into the crews cultivating Dorchester Community Garden.