November 2017 Posts

Holly Center Officially Opens :: Sleeps 200 Men In Need

Tonight is the first night we will sleep men in our new shelter facility, the Holly Center! This means that, starting today, the Mission will operate three separate overnight emergency shelter facilities in Denver (48th Street Center, Holly Center and the Lawrence Street Shelter downtown) with total capacity of 800+ men on any given night.

At the Holly Center, we are currently setup with 200 beds with the capacity for 228. These are the first permanent shelter beds for men in the City of Denver since the late 1980’s, providing much-needed capacity and stability to the shelter system. The Holly Center also featured lockers for storage, restrooms, showers, water fountains, laundry and extra outlets where our guests can charge their phones.

 

Mission staff members have been working closely with crews from JHL Constructors and DEC Architects over the past several months to complete this project, along with generous support from The Denver Broncos, The Patten-Davis Foundation, Keith and Kim Molenhouse and The Anschutz Foundation to make it a reality. To learn more about the building plans, read my March blog post here.

This facility will allow the Mission to serve those in our community who are experiencing homelessness for many years to come. We were thrilled to hold a Grand Opening Ceremony for the Holly Center on Wednesday, November 15 where Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Erik Soliván from the Office of HOPE, Mission staff and Board members, program participants and community supporters all came together to celebrate this new shelter. Check out some of the photo highlights below.

 

Guests will be transported to the Holly Center at night after having dinner at our Lawrence Street Community Center (LSCC). In the morning, guests will be transported back to LSCC for breakfast. This is the same procedure that  currently takes place for our 48th Street Center, which is an overflow shelter for men that the Mission operates in partnership with the City of Denver. The 48th Street Center can sleep up to 300 men. This is in addition to our Lawrence Street Shelter downtown which can sleep up to 315 men, making the total capacity of 800+ men receiving overnight shelter at Denver Rescue Mission on any given night.

We’re grateful to provide this safe refuge for our homeless and struggling neighbors, something that we’ve been doing since 1892. This year marks the 125th anniversary for the Mission and we’re grateful for all of our supporters and volunteers who walk alongside us to comfort and care for the most vulnerable in our community.

As winter approaches with frigid temperatures, the opening of the Holly Center has come at an important time. I am humbled that God has blessed the Mission with the opportunity to serve so many individuals in the name of Christ, and I pray that we meet their immediate needs well, with the goal of returning them to society as productive, self-sufficient citizens.

Please join us in praying for the new Holly Center and each person who will be sleeping with us this winter at one of our three shelter locations.

God Bless,

Brad Meuli
President and CEO

Faces of the Mission :: Margarita

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“I don’t see myself as in poverty,” Margarita says. “My parents would come back from the dead if I was in poverty! You have to know who you are. I can say that my mother and grandmother always said that people determine who you are by how you look. So, it was necessary for me to look like I wanted to do something, to look like I was out to learn something, to have my mind and my dress and my attitude to look like I was going to move forward, never thinking about moving backward, always moving forward.”

Margarita has been experiencing homelessness for 18 months, which officially makes her chronically homeless. She used to live in a duplex out by Denver International Airport, but her landlord, unable to afford payments on the apartment complex was forced to sell, resulting in Margarita having no place to go.

“Some days I go through things that make me want to pull my hair out and just get dropped off by the river somewhere by myself. But I know that’s not the answer. For me, the answer is to help someone. Jordan, I never let a day pass that I don’t help somebody. I think that if you help someone move forward—you move forward.”

“Just being with people and talking is important—something will always come up that you can talk about. And as you talk, people begin to tell you their issues, and you can try to help them.”

She’s speaking to me as if I am her student, and in a strange way, I get it. To her I’m young and somewhat naïve—my passion does not match her wisdom, her experience or even her education. For the rest of the conversation I hardly speak, I don’t ask another question. I just sit back and listen to Margarita impart her wisdom and tell her story.

“I’m from Barcelona. I came to the U.S. to go to college. I went to Radcliffe, then to the University of Minnesota. I almost froze to death in Minnesota, not literally to death, but it was so cold! And I had the nerve to be a cheerleader. Can you believe that? I was so cold during the football season that I thought I was going to die!”

“After my experience in Minnesota, I hurried to California. I studied at the University there—at Berkley. I studied psychology and ended up working that field, helping parents and children.”

“I have a talent to sing. I sing opera—I like to do that. I’ve done that since I was a kid, and that excites me. I haven’t done any real work since I’ve been in Denver because this is not an opera city. In San Francisco, I did a lot of work. I worked for the city and then I would go across the street to one of the city organizations and be on stage. I’ve always liked to act.”

Jennifer Fitzgerald, our Emergency Services Coordinator downtown who was also a part of this interview, chimes in…“You’re so joyful, Margarita. What makes you that way?”

“Anticipation for life,” Margarita says. “I always ask myself, what can I do to help others today? What can I do to get out of this situation? And creating, just trying to create an interest in something, and holding an interest in something, because that’s the only way you can live out here. If you have no interest and you don’t do anything to help people—you don’t do anything to build, then what are you doing? You know? You have to do something to help others. That’s what I was taught.”

Faces of The Mission is a blog series written by Jordan Smith, Denver Rescue Mission’s Writer/Photographer and former Next Step Coordinator at the Lawrence Street Community Center, offering insights and real life stories from people experiencing homelessness and hardships.