Remembering Raven

Remembering Raven

Rising street paper star found dead on street

By Laura Kelly

Last month homeless activist Raven Canon was found dead in Colorado Springs. Despite experiencing homelessness, Canon had just launched a brand new street paper, The Springs Echo.

On March 4 at 9:30 a.m., a homeless woman was found unresponsive on the streets of Colorado Springs, wrapped against the 29 degree cold in a blanket. Raven Canon was at least the ninth person to die on the city’s streets this winter, activists say. She was also a rising star in her community, an effective community organizer and activist, and the editor-in-chief of the world’s newest street paper, The Springs Echo

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Meet the Echo

Meet the Echo

By Danielle Krolewicz

The world’s newest street paper is changing lives in Colorado Springs.

January 1 marked the launch of the Colorado Springs Echo, a street paper spearheaded by Raven Canon. After a year of hard work, dedication, networking, and fundraising, Canon published the first installment of the Echo, printing 3,000 copies of the paper. 

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News Briefs: Colorado Springs enforces no-camping ordinance

Published April 2010 Vol. 14 Issue 4

Colorado Springs Police began enforcing a new, citywide no-camp ordinance on March 11.

The Homeless Outreach Team from the police department is reportedly moving slowly through various areas starting with a camp north of Cimarron Street and west of Interstate 25.

No arrests were made on day one according to The Gazette in Colorado Springs. Police issued several warnings and recommended various shelters in the area such as the Springs Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army.

Police are notifying the campers who they issue warnings to that if they are still there in 48 hours they will receive a ticket. On the third day, they will be arrested.

Council members passed the city’s no-camp ordinance 8-1, on Feb. 9.

-- Kimberly Gunning

Local Buzz: Mentors instead of cell mates

Published January 2010 Vol. 14 Issue 1

Colorado Springs non-profits find alternatives to prison for juvenile offenders.

by Chris Bolte

Robert ran away from home at age 17, dropped out of school and couch surfed throughout the Colorado Springs area for four months. He was reluctant to talk about what, exactly, he did, so left it at he “got into trouble” and found himself in a treatment program through the Division of Youth Corrections. Through this program he was able to attain his GED and get started on a new path.

His circumstances are not at all uncommon.  Dropping out of school has ramifications for young adults; idle time, isolation and even being cut off from many services provided for those still attending school. It can be a recipe for bad decisions.

Minor charges specific to youth are things like truancy or running away from home, gateway crimes.  Some youth continue on this track to more serious crimes.  They can be sent to the Division of Youth Corrections or, even worse, adult prison.

From there, if a youth returns to the same peers upon release, the same temptations to commit crimes and return to the system all over again are all but inevitable.  This is what we have come to know as the recidivism problem.

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News Briefs: Bar Codes and Piggy Banks in Colorado Springs

Published September 2009 Vol. 13 Issue 8

Two proposed programs aimed at improving homeless services in Colorado Springs may be underway again after experiencing delays over the past year. One program is a rapid-entry card system. Homeless clients of various Colorado Springs agencies will be provided with a card that has the cardholder’s photo and a bar code. The card will expedite services for people who need them by replacing the old process of filling out a new form for each new agency. The card will also help formulate long-term plans to get people into housing. The program ran into a setback this January when the contracted vendor went out of business. The program is now back on track, and a test run of the card system is expected to take place soon.

The second program is a network of repurposed parking meters that will be placed in Colorado Springs businesses to collect change for local agencies offering services for the homeless. Colorado Springs Councilman Jerry Heimlicher initially proposed the plan two years ago as part of an effort to decrease panhandling in the area. The program experienced difficulties early on in finding the machines—it took a year and a half to acquire all 135 used meters. Another setback occurred when organizers realized they did not have enough money to pay the artists they originally had commissioned to customize each meter. Local businesses will now be donating the money to buy materials that volunteers will use to decorate the meters. Heimlicher is hoping to launch the meters by October.

-- Sarah Harvey