March 2017 Posts

Plans to Build A New $2.5 Million Shelter :: The Holly Center

We have an exciting announcement to share!

Earlier this month, after much prayer and consideration, the Mission’s Board of Directors approved a plan to renovate a section of our current Ministry Outreach Center (MOC), our warehouse facility in northeast Park Hill, to create a new overnight shelter for men called Holly Center. This renovation will provide 228 beds, the first new permanent shelter beds for men in the City of Denver since 1989, as well as shower and restroom facilities. All guests will be transported to Holly Center from our Lawrence Street Community Center downtown in the evening and back again in the morning by bus, in partnership with the City of Denver. Construction will begin as early as May, with a projected opening in the fall of 2017. JHL Constructors will be the general contractor. The project’s architect is Wayne LaGrone of DEC Architects.

 

For the last decade, it has been the Mission’s desire to expand overnight shelter services downtown to meet the growing demand of people in need. Since 2012, in order to meet these growing community needs for shelter, the Mission has partnered with the City of Denver to operate an overflow shelter in a city-owned facility offsite – currently an office building near I-70 & Peoria – which offers mats on the floor and no shower facilities on site. Originally, it was a cold-weather shelter, but has since expanded, out of necessity, to a year-round facility.

During the last two years, our leadership team developed plans to build a more dignified permanent shelter inside the MOC, and we are pleased that God is now opening the doors to make Holly Center a reality. We have zoning and neighborhood approval, and are just a few weeks from beginning construction. While we still expect to operate a City-owned overflow shelter in the future, Holly Center will add both capacity and stability to Denver’s emergency shelter network at a time that it is desperately needed.

Lives are transformed every single day because of our community of supporters, and we are grateful for the opportunity to continue to minister to those experiencing homelessness and poverty in our community, not only at the Holly Center, but at all of our Mission locations now and in the future.

In the upcoming months, we ask for your prayers over this project and God’s ministry to the poor we serve.

 

Denver Rescue Mission among faith-based groups leading the way to help the homeless

Back in February, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. for the unveiling of a new homeless study completed by the Baylor Institute for Studies for Religion on behalf of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM). It was a privilege to be in a room full of dignitaries and nonprofit leaders who are making a significant impact on homelessness across the country. And the study had some impressive results.

ASSESSING THE FAITH-BASED RESPONSE TO HOMELESSNESS IN AMERICA: FINDINGS FROM ELEVEN CITIES was compiled in 2016 with data from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and local agencies in 11 “sample cities” — Baltimore; Jacksonville, Fla.; Atlanta; Indianapolis; Omaha, Neb.; Houston; Denver; Phoenix; San Diego; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle.

Denver Rescue Mission was one of the local agencies to participate in this research and we are eager to share the results. Overall, faith-based organizations (FBOs) and missions are at the forefront when it comes to not only providing the homeless with shelter beds, but also effectively dealing with the root causes of homelessness. 

Some of the key findings from the Baylor Study include…

  • 58% of emergency shelter beds in these 11 cities are provided by FBOs
  • These FBOs save taxpayers $9.42 per every $1 invested by government funding
    • Essentially, $119 million in tax savings in the 11 cities over three years
  • FBO homeless ministries are at the forefront of program innovation to improve their ability to increase positive outcomes for homeless individuals and families
  • Cities with more FBOs tend to have less unsheltered homeless individuals and families
Faith-based organizations provide nearly 60% of the Emergency Shelter beds, what many consider the “safety net of all safety nets” for the homeless population. Graphic courtesy of Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion

Faith-based organizations provide nearly 60% of the Emergency Shelter beds, what many consider the “safety net of all safety nets” for the homeless population. Graphic courtesy of Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion

Find a link to the full report here.

The report itself is over 140 pages long. Denver’s portion begins on page 44. If you are passionate about our cause and homelessness, I encourage you to browse through these pages and explore for yourself how FBOs are changing communities one mission at a time.

This study, I believe, reminds us of the importance of the faith-based community in meeting the needs of the homeless as well as the significant effort that needs to continue to be made to collaborate with you (our community of supporters) and the government in working together toward solutions to issues of homelessness. We couldn’t do this soul-saving work without you!