(Sept. 3) – The revamped Fort Lyon facility opened its doors today, providing a wide range of services to individuals who suffer from substance abuse and mental health issues as well as the homeless.

During the 2013 session the legislature approved a bipartisan measure to convert the old Fort Lyon correctional facility near Las Animas into a full-service transitional housing facility that will provide treatment and rehabilitation for substance abuse and mental health issues as well as educational and job-training courses to help residents get back on their feet.

Initially sponsored in the House by Reps. Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) and Tim Dore (R-Elizabeth), the measure was ultimately passed as an amendment to SB13-210, sponsored by Sen. Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) and Rep. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver). Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill into law on May 24.

“I’m pleased we were able to get the new Fort Lyon up and running in only three months,” Rep. Garcia said. “My thanks to everyone in the Lower Arkansas Valley who worked so hard to make this happen.”

The newly repurposed facility accepted 27 residents today and will continue to expand its services in the coming months. Full capacity is pegged at 300 residents.

“We’re bringing jobs to the Lower Ark and helping communities across Colorado to deal with their homeless populations,” Sen. Giron said. “Many of these people are veterans who deserve our support. All of them could use a second chance to become productive Coloradans.”

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