Former Excelsior school, soon to be a program to aid families experiencing homelessness. SENTINEL FILE PHOTO

AURORA | Aurora City Council members are set to approve funds for a homelessness program at the former Excelsior Youth Campus this week.

Council members unanimously agreed on moving ahead with the funding at a study session earlier this year. A one-time contribution of $400,000 will fund capital renovation of a building on the campus at 15001 East Oxford Ave. The money would come from funds generated by retail marijuana sales dedicated for homelessness-related projects.

The money is slated to help construct an interior stairwell, add a recreation space for residents, improve accessibility and add required bathroom facilities.

The program, called GOALS, is designed as a two-generation approach, according to Family Tree CEO, Scott Shields. Many homeless programs focus solely on getting adults back on their feet or just on helping children, which can sometimes require very different services. Family Tree’s program is one that focuses on an array of challenges a family might meet when they’re experiencing homelessness.

The Center for Policy Research will also be involved to study the impacts of the overall effectiveness of the program.

GOALS will have the ability to help 15 families at a time on the campus. That amounts to about 40 people, Shields said.  

During the Monday study session, council members will also consider a law enforcement grant for investigations associated with the gray and black marijuana market and whether to extend support to the POD Act from Congressman Jason Crow, which would mandate access for members of Congress within 48 hours of requesting to be let inside a detention facility, like the immigration detention center operated by GEO Group Inc. in north Aurora. 

The Aurora Immigrant & Refugee Commission recommends the city council endorse the legislation.

During the body’s regular meeting, council may give final approval to a unified development ordinance that attracted much debate at the council’s last meeting and a more stringent code of ethics for city elected officials. That measure has been dubbed a compromise by the city council members who are sponsoring the bill.

— KARA MASON, Staff Writer

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