STERLING, Colo. -- Residents and City officials came together in a community meeting to talk about homelessness today.

The conversation started toward the end of the Logan County Chamber "Business Roundtable, State of Our Community Address this morning. The meeting was held in the Tennant Art Gallery at Northeastern Junior College.

The meeting was held as an opportunity for community leaders to review 2022 and talk about plans for 2023.

Sterling City Manager Kevin Blankenship spoke about improvements in the city parks, plans for future development including the City's trails system and plans for an apartment complex and the City's wastewater system.

During a question period, Blankenship was asked about the City's response to homelessness, especially in consideration of winter weather.

Blankenship said the City of Sterling offers "warming stations" at the National Guard Armory and there are designated hotel rooms that can be used.

Logan County Commissioner Joe McBride said there has been no county discussions outside of the incorporated area.

Blankenship was asked about the humanitarian concern, how to offer homeless people services as simple as a shower. Blankenship said the City and Cooperating Ministry of Logan County had an arrangement where a homeless person could be given a token to be exchanged for a shower at the Sterling Recreation Center. Blankenship said the Cooperating Ministry may not be offering tokens any longer because of budget constraints.

Sterling Police Chief Tyson Kerr agrees homelessness is an issue in Sterling.

"We are seeing an uptick in the population," he said.

Kerr added that while the police response is only part of the answer, "Nobody is going to be left out in the cold."

He said mental health and addiction issues magnify the problem. 

Alexis Ertle said the Under the Umbrella program offers at "soup kitchen" in the evenings, and offers shower tokens. 

Blankenship said Centennial Mental Health is applying for funding for a homeless facility after being turned down in their last application. He said he would be willing to meet with any church or faith organization to discuss how to help homeless people.