By Tori Mason
DENVER (CBS4)– Taxes from the sale of marijuana are helping those struggling with addiction get off the streets.
The Marijuana Tax Cash Fund helps homeless with mental health issues and opioid addiction. The revenue also provides them with safe housing, like the soon-to-be St. Francis Apartments at Cathedral Square.
Gov. John Hickenlooper took a tour of the apartments Tuesday. He says the funds going into supportive housing facilities for the homeless will save the state millions in future hospital and incarceration costs.
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The people who will live at St. Francis Apartments include survivors of domestic violence who left their homes and the disabled who can’t walk from shelter to shelter every night.
St. John’s Cathedral has donated the land for the project, which will be built by BlueLine Development on the Cathedral/Argonaut parking lot on Cathedral Square North. Argonaut has redesigned their parking lot to accommodate the building.
When residents move in they’ll have all the basic household items including bedding, pots and pans.
Hickenlooper reminds taxpayers that 40 percent of the homeless living in Colorado have jobs and many were just dealt a bad hand.
“That’s not the American dream, if you’re out there working 40 hours a week and still can’t afford an apartment. This effort is looking at the other end of the spectrum; the chronically homeless, people who’ve had real challenges in their life and need the supportive services that this facility is going to provide and that the St. Francis Center is famous for,” said Hickenlooper.
The St. Francis Center is still seeking a little more than $1 million in private donations to fully fund the project.
During the tour, the Lieutenant Governor pointed out how you can see the top of the capitol from the building. She says it’s almost symbolic of how the state hasn’t lost sight of the homeless in Colorado.
For more information, please call the St. Francis Center at 303-297-1577.