IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. -- With just over a week left till Christmas, city leaders in Idaho Springs are now tasked with helping around 17 people secure permanent housing.
On Dec. 8, tenants at the Lodge of the Rockies were notified that they’d have to evacuate the building after several building code violations were discovered.
Idaho Springs Mayor Mike Hillman said a firefighter was concerned about the building’s condition after a service call on Dec. 5.
Three days later, an inspection took place.
“The chief and the building department came over to look around, what they walked into was so surprising to them that we had to act immediately on it,” Hillman said.
That immediate action meant the building’s 30 residents would have to evacuate by Thursday, December 10.
“This is what this was 100% about – their safety,” Hillman said. “…lots of fire codes, building that has been done without permits, plumbing that has been done [incorrectly], we felt that it was a very bad situation.”
Some of the residents were able to go stay with family members. Others were placed in hotels for 30-days, funded by Clear Creek County.
Claude Roubicek, a former Lodge resident, said he didn’t know the building was in a state of disrepair.
“I didn’t realize how bad the situation was,” said Roubicek. “Now, I’m here at this hotel they put me up at.”
Hillman said the Lodge had been operating as a housing facility when it was actually coded to operate as a hotel.
“When people do things like this, a lot of times it’s done without bringing it forward to the city …getting permits and making sure they have the right people working on this stuff,” the mayor said. "I believe wholeheartedly that the owner had a heart in helping folks out that are less fortunate. So what he was trying to accomplish, I don’t have anything to say against that – it’s just how it was done.”
Hillman said that the city and the property owner will work to come up with a plan for the building in the coming weeks.
Mary Bernal, a Clear Creek case worker, told Denver7 that as of this Monday, about 17 people still needed long-term accommodations.
“We have had people in the community ask how they can donate to the cause, so we set up a donation bank through the Veteran’s Coalition of Clear Creek County,” said Hillman. “Also, we’ll be putting something out on Facebook, as a fundraiser as well. This money will be used for future needs that these folks may have if they need to stay past 30 days. Hopefully, we’ll have enough participation with donations to help us accomplish that.”
If you have information about long-term housing options case worker, Mary Bernal, can be reached at (303) 670-7542.
Information about donations can be found here.