January 2019 Posts

Pathways Off The Street: How Scott’s Life Was Changed

Scott's story

 

Scott’s Story

“I’d never been homeless before. I didn’t know where to go; I didn’t know what to do. I just walked around and waited for something to happen.” Scott didn’t grow up experiencing poverty. He lived what many people would call a “normal” life. He had a place to call home. A job. A family. Bills. Responsibilities. It’s understandable then, that when Scott became homeless, he had no idea of how to navigate his situation.

“Being homeless is hard,” says Scott. “And when you’re homeless and it’s cold, life becomes so much more difficult. I didn’t know what to do to stay warm, so I would spend my days riding the 16th Street Mall bus because it was free and it was warm.”

With the addition of our Lawrence Street Community Center just over three years ago, we are able to welcome more people off of the street than ever before. And between our three Denver shelters, we can provide up to 1,000 people with a safe, warm place to sleep every night. “Once I found out about the Mission, if the temperature was going to drop below freezing,” says Scott, “then I always slept at the shelter.” And as he grew more familiar with our staff and services, Scott started getting more involved.

“Eventually, I joined Next Step, and from there, I moved to the New Life Program at The Crossing.”

 

“Being homeless is hard.  And when you’re homeless and it’s cold, life becomes so much more difficult.”

 

Scott isn’t alone. Over the last two years, 1,116 people have enrolled in Next Step. We talked to Debra Butte, director of intake and diversion, about why so many people are enrolling. “Every one of our staff members are equipped to encourage and inform our guests about Next Step,” she said. “Our goal is to be a service where the masses can come for help.”

Next Step offers men staying in our shelter system—which includes our Lawrence Street Shelter, the 48th Street Center and our newest edition, the Holly Center—with the opportunity to create a tailored path toward a permanent and sustainable living situation. Each Next Step community member is paired with a case worker, assigned a permanent bed and given a storage locker. Members work closely with their case workers to prepare an individualized plan suitable to their specific needs.

At our Lawrence Street Shelter and community center, we offer help outside of Next Step—meals, shelter (for men), laundry, restrooms, clinic services, and showers. But the goal is not for people to live in shelters. Instead, we want to encourage people to begin creating goals that put them on a path toward permanent living situations.

Sometimes, that path begins with small steps, like getting a Colorado I.D. or enrolling in Medicaid/Medicare. For others, their path begins by learning how to write a resume or maintain a job—showing up on time and dressing appropriately. For our aging or disabled members, their path starts by filling out mounds of paperwork required to obtain Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Income.

Next Step is a vital service during the cold winter months. More people come through our doors this time of year than any other season. And when people show up seeking warmth, we want to be able to provide them with more than a blanket, a hot meal and place out of the cold. Of course, we want to do that, and your donations help us. But your gifts are also empowering us to do more; we’re training case workers to have conversations with people experiencing homelessness to help them find a path home.

 

Your Donations Can Provide A Pathway Off The Streets

Make a gift to provide a second chance for people like Scott.

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How Next Step Works

Door photo

IT STARTS AT THE DOOR

We serve nearly 1,000 people in need every day at our Lawrence Street Shelter and community center, and every employee is equipped to inform guests about our Next Step community and our other various programs. Appointments are made for one-on-one intake sessions.

Intake photo

THE INTAKE

Next Step has two intake coordinators. Each coordinator spends 30 minutes with interested guests, getting to know them and evaluating how we can best meet their needs.

Move-In photo

MOVE-IN DAY

On move-in day, Next Step community members are assigned a permanent bed and a storage locker. And they meet their case worker for the first time.

Case worker photo

MEETINGS WITH CASE WORKERS

At the Lawrence Street Shelter, we have three case workers, each with a specific area of focus— assisted living, social security and employment. Case workers develop individualized and unique plans for every next step member.

Exit plan

the exit plan

It takes a village to help people move from the street into housing. Next Step is the entryway into that village. We are connecting people with programs and services throughout the metro region, like our very own New Life Program, Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Recovery Program, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, and many more.

Read the Full Newsletter

February 2019 Newsletter Cover

Also in this issue:

  • Letter from the CEO
  • Mission Staff Helps To Find Missing Girl
  • Items of Greatest Need
  • Why Denver Rescue Mission Matters

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Use Your Gifts To Serve Others: Denver Rescue Mission’s Mentor Services Help Change Lives

MENTORING

When Steven talks about his mentor, Jon, you can hear the excitement in his voice.

“Why he is just the greatest man!” Steven says as he flips through photos of the two on his iPad.

Steven was paired with Jon as part of his program. Steven and Jon meet every other week, if not every week, to chat about everything from Duke overcoming his addictions to scripture passages.

“We get a lot of support here. But, I couldn’t do any of this without him. Jon really, really cares. He wants to make sure I’m successful. That’s what a classic mentorship is and everyone needs someone like that,” says Steven.

And, with the Mission’s mentoring, participants in the New Life Program, like Steven, do have someone. Last year, the Mission paired 61 NLP participants with mentors, also known as Change Makers.

“When he cries, I cry. When he’s happy, I’m happy. He is a blessing,” says Jon. “Steven has inspired me. It’s a blessing to be a part of his life and see his testimony unfold.”

Steven and Jon’s mentorship isn’t the only living testimony that shows the power of the program. Many of the mentees and mentors experience the same connection.

“I love being a mentor at Denver Rescue Mission because it allows me to give back and pay forward to individuals in my life that have inspired me to love God and respects others more,” says Johnnie, another NLP Mentor. “So, many people just need to know that there are people who care about them.”

You can also help change lives. Join Denver Rescue Mission in celebrating all of our mentors during National Mentoring Month by learning more about our mentoring opportunities.

Denver’s Hidden Homeless: Adine’s Path To Home

Denver's Hidden Homeless header

 

Adine’s Story

Adine and her family

About a year ago, Adine and her kids found themselves without a home and in need of some serious help. Here’s their story.

It’s an early Monday morning in Montbello. Adine is sitting in her living room. There are two couches, a coffee table and an end table that has a book on it, the cover of the book reads Holy Bible. “God is great,” she says. “It’s the weirdest thing, I didn’t find the strength to fight. I found the courage to give it to God.”

About a year ago, Adine and her kids were living in a one bedroom apartment. They were doing well and making it day-by-day. They lived in the unit for nearly one year before Adine received a notice that her rent was being raised. “When the old lease ended, I couldn’t afford to pay the new one,” she says. “So, we had to go.”

So long is the stigma that people are homeless because they have an addiction or a disability. Of course, for some, that is true. But many single-parent families in Denver are becoming homeless because they simply can’t afford rent. And as a result, the new face of homelessness in our city is that of Adine and her children.

They’re called the hidden homeless. In an interview with the Denver Post, Barbara Duffield, policy director at the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, said “It’s much more of a hidden and invisible population. The general public may not even see them or consider them to be homeless because they are not on [the street] like a single homeless adult.”

But they are homeless. Families all across Colorado find themselves living in situations that are not meant for permanent residence, many of them don’t live on the street, but they do live in motels, vehicles and shelters.

“I just hit hard times,” says Adine, “And I found myself in an uncontrollable situation. Homelessness isn’t a state of being; it’s not who I am, or who I was. It’s not about being uneducated. And I’ve never done drugs. But it still happened to me. My kids and I were homeless because I couldn’t afford rent.”

In Adine’s case, she and her kids moved into a basement of a family member’s home. And although the basement provided shelter, it was far from ideal. “It just wasn’t safe,” she says. Adine doesn’t expound on her statement, she just says it again, “it just wasn’t safe, and it wasn’t the most stable place for us to live for a long period of time.”

“It’s the weirdest thing, I didn’t find the strength to fight.
I found the courage to give it to God.”

Adine knew about Denver Rescue Mission and The Crossing. So, when she realized she wasn’t going to be able to afford the new lease, Adine called us and began taking steps toward enrolling in our STAR Transitional Program. After thirty days of living in a basement with her children, Adine received a phone call that she’d been accepted into our program and a room was ready for her family at The Crossing.

In the STAR Program, Adine was paired with a case manager, and together, they learned that her family would qualify for the Housing Choice Voucher lottery (formerly Section 8), a government-funded program that assists low-income families.

There’s a waiting list for the voucher program and sometimes the wait can be up to three to five years. Because of Adine’s situation, a single mom with two kids, her wait time was reduced to only a few months. But during those months, our staff members began preparing Adine for her future, “I was working a full-time job,” she says. “And I was going to classes, learning how to budget, learning how to take care of myself, and learning how to be a good parent.”

After four months of being enrolled in STAR, Adine and her kids were awarded housing. To help support them as they moved into a new home, our Family Rescue Ministry assisted Adine’s family with their first month’s rent and deposit. She’s been in her new home for nearly six months. She still works a full-time job and she pays rent every month. “I’ve learned to focus on the positive,” she says. “Times are still hard some days, but I made it through the roughest, being homeless, watching my boys go through that and questioning ‘can I get through this?’, but I made it. It’s not perfect. It’s still a struggle every day, but because of my time with the Mission, I know how to budget, how to be a good parent. And I know I can make it!”

Your Donations Can Help Denver’s Hidden Homeless

Make a gift to provide a path home for families like Adine’s.

Give Now

Your Donations Provide Hope To The Hidden Homeless In Three Ways

STAR Family

STAR TRANSITIONAL PROGRAM

In the program, families and individuals develop and practice important life skills, save money, gain the tools they need to provide for their own housing, and transition into a self-sufficient lifestyle when they graduate.

Family Rescue Ministry

FAMILY RESCUE MINISTRY

The Mission’s Family Rescue Ministry program provides families and seniors in need with mentors from the community and assistance with their first month’s rent and deposit toward a long-term housing solution.

Family Refugee Services

FAMILY REFUGEE SERVICES

Refugee families are paired with a mentor team who work with them to help with basic needs, community orientation, employment skills, financial skills (bilingual assistance if necessary), first month’s rent and deposit, and social and emotional support.

Homelessness & Families: The Facts

Family icon

26% OF METRO DENVER’S HOMELESS

population were families in 2018.

Household icon

57,971 FAMILY HOUSEHOLDS

in the U.S were identified as homeless in 2017.

30 children icon

1 IN 30 CHILDREN

in the U.S experience homelessness annually. 51% are under the age of five.

Read the Full Newsletter

January 2019 Newsletter Cover

Also in this issue:

  • Letter from the CEO
  • Young Professionals Group
  • View Our 2018 Annual Report
  • Why Denver Rescue Mission Matters

Download Now