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With Land Set Aside to Build, the Bridge Emergency Shelter Looks for Funding

Austin Cope

Directors of the Bridge Emergency Shelter in Cortez will be seeking a state grant and additional funding sources to build a new shelter.

They reached their decision after Montezuma County put the Bridge’s current home, the aging Justice Building at Mildred and Empire, up for sale in preparation for the county’s move into its new courthouse. The Bridge has operated out of the Justice Building for a decade, providing overnight shelter in winter months. Executive Director Laurie Knutson says the new structure is planned for a tract of land on Empire near the Cortez Apartments. The parcel of less than an acre was donated years ago by the county. She says the goal is to build a two-story facility that would provide both a seasonal shelter and permanent supportive housing for people who can live independently but can’t afford a place of their own. Subsidized housing is limited in the area and there is a long waiting list. Knutson says the board will be approaching the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for a grant and comparing costs of stick-built vs. modular structures. Zoning and other issues remain to be worked out. Knutson says the shelter has been averaging about 40 guests a night, the vast majority sober. She says, “It’s been crazy busy.” This year’s season ends April 28th.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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