On Dec. 12, public libraries in the region became officially and functionally "safe places," meaning runaway or homeless teens can ask library staff for help and connect with a volunteer who will bring them to Urban Peak, the local homeless shelter for youth ages 15 to 20. There, they can access safe shelter, survival staples like food and clothing, and, if they choose, the nonprofit's full array of services, including health care and counseling on employment and housing.
The designation, a collaborative effort between Urban Peak and the Pikes Peak Library District, is the first of its kind in the state.
"Becoming sites for the National Safe Place Network was an easy choice for the Library. We already provide services and resources to help the residents of El Paso County and welcome all through our doors," Antonia Krupicka-Smith, adult/teen services manager at Library 21c, stated in a press release. "Extending the reach of the crucial services provided by Urban Peak Colorado Springs to our youth is yet another way that we support the community that we are all a part of."