by Alison Bateman-House
Colorado could benefit from a history lesson. With Governor John Hickenlooper having just repurposed Fort Lyon, a former Veterans’ Administration hospital most recently used as a prison, for a homeless rehabilitation program, Coloradans should recall the experience of the Willowbrook State School, the institution famously described by Senator Robert Kennedy as a “snake pit.”
At first glance, there is not much in common between Fort Lyon and Willowbrook. In an effort to address homelessness, particularly among veterans, Fort Lyon will house up to three hundred chronically homeless individuals, providing them with vocational training and supportive services for substance abuse and mental illness. After at least one year of residency at Fort Lyon, participants will be eligible to receive a Section 8 housing voucher.