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Gov. Hickenlooper joins Pedal The Plains riders, Bent County residents at Fort Lyon grand opening

LAS ANIMAS, Colo. — Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 — Gov. John Hickenlooper joined Pedal The Plains cyclists and Bent County residents today at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly reopened Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community.


“Fort Lyon will give homeless veterans and others the opportunity to gain new job and life skills,” Hickenlooper said. “This collaborative effort between the General Assembly and Bent County transitioned the historic facility into its new purpose of helping the state’s most vulnerable individuals. We thank everyone involved in making the opening a reality.”


The 550-acre Fort Lyon facility, which will offer recovery oriented transitional housing for up to 300 homeless individuals with mental health and substance abuse disabilities, has admitted 25 residents from Denver, Greeley, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo since opening on Sept. 3, 2013.


As Pedal The Plains riders travel from Lamar to La Junta, they will have the opportunity to tour the Fort Lyon grounds and learn about the ways that program participants will engage in the overall operations of the campus including food services, facilities maintenance, grounds maintenance, housekeeping and waste water management.


“With its combination of counseling, educational, vocational and employment services, Fort Lyon will become an internationally replicated model in the effort to end homelessness,” said Pat Coyle, Director of the Colorado Division of Housing. “During Pedal The Plains individuals from across the globe will have the opportunity to see firsthand the bold steps Colorado is taking to serve those most in need.”


Pedal The Plains, with its emphasis on economic development, will also provide an opportunity for Bent County residents to find out how they can support Fort Lyon’s community-oriented mission.


Collaborative service providers from Otero Junior College, Lamar Community College, Southeast Mental Health Services, Prowers, Medical Center and Valley-Wide Health Systems, Inc will join the governor at the ribbon-cutting, which will include remarks from Sen. Larry Crowder, Pat Coyle, and Bent County Commissioner Bill Long.


The repurposing is part of Pathways Home Colorado’s ongoing effort to replicate best practice models, support regional priorities and become more strategic in preventing and ending homelessness.