Stories of Changed Lives Posts

Be The Example: Steven’s Path to Sobriety

Steven's story

Steven pictured with Chaplain Dan Dilley

Steven’s Story

365—the number of days Steven had been sober. As he sat on the bus back from his 12 Step Fellowship meeting, he rubbed his one-year chip between his fingers and contemplated how far he had come in that time to overcome his addiction to cocaine.

He had been in the Mission’s New Life Program (NLP) for 10 months and had found a temporary job. He felt fulfilled in the work he was doing, but was told a week prior that his time at the company would be ending soon. Steven had just accomplished something incredible—an entire year of being sober—yet, the thought of his job ending was weighing heavily on his mind as he took the bus back to The Crossing.

In the midst of all his thoughts, he hopped off the bus to catch the next connecting bus back. When he got off the bus he saw an old friend of his smoking cocaine.

“I’m watching him, and I knew that bus was notorious for drugs,” Steven said. “I went up to him and said ‘man, let me have just one hit of that.’ Of course, when you take one hit, it flips the whole script.”

“Be the example–that’s the best way I can help people experiencing homelessness.”

Steven didn’t return to his room at The Crossing that evening. Instead he spent the next three months using drugs, sleeping at the Lawrence Street Shelter or his car, and staying on the streets. He found himself once again at a low point in his life, not sure which direction to take.

“I remember sitting outside the Lawrence Street Shelter thinking how lost I had become. I thought, I’m better than this, a homeless crackhead. I realized the path I’m on will only lead to death,” Steven said.

Steven tried several other programs around Denver since he left, but always felt Jesus pulling him back to the Mission. After a great deal of thought, Steven was determined to re-enter the New Life Program. He admitted that his first time in the program his mindset wasn’t clear and he was simply just going through the motions.

“It’s all about Jesus,” Steven says. “You know the name of the Mission’s building downtown? It’s ‘Jesus Saves.’ That’s it—Jesus saves us!”

Feeling humbled by the past three months, Steven applied for the program and was accepted back in November of 2018. The Park Hill neighborhood, where The Crossing resides and where Steven was headed back to, was one he was all too familiar with—one he had known since he was 5-years-old. Steven’s childhood home sits nestled only blocks away from the program he was about to re-enter. It was at that house where Steven grew up, where he had his first smoke of marijuana, and where his life began to turn toward a path of drugs and addiction. However, heading back to this neck of the woods would be different this time around.

This time, he was set on being successful in all aspects of the program for himself, his family, but most importantly for his relationship with Jesus. He had seen really big miracles from people who followed the program. And, he was determined to be one this time around. In fact, in 2018 84 men graduated from the New Life Program.

Since Steven’s back in the program, he’s worked diligently in all aspects of the NLP to better himself by staying sober, learning how to become self-sufficient and becoming closer to Jesus. The computer, resume and authentic manhood classes are several learning opportunities that Steven says have helped him as he moves toward the life he has always envisioned. More importantly Steven says his relationship with his chaplain, Dan, is something that truly helped him become successful this time around. Steven often says, “I couldn’t have gotten this far without my chaplain.”

In April, Steven entered the working phase of the program and secured a job at a restaurant in downtown Denver—something he could only dream about several months prior as he sat outside the Mission addicted to drugs. When he’s asked about how he overcame so much hardship, he doesn’t skip a beat and says, “The New Life Program.”

With four months left in his program, Steven is embracing his new job opportunity and the expertise the NLP staff has to offer. He has high hopes of being the best version of himself in order to be the example for others who went through the same life experiences as he did.

“Be the example—that’s the best way I can help people experiencing homelessness,” Steven says. “If they see me doing good and they know I was out there on the streets with them…maybe someone will say, I can do it too. To someone who is struggling—there is a solution.”

You Helped Steven Overcome His Struggles…

Help more people overcome theirs by giving today

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A Chaplain’s Care

For many of the men in the New Life Program, having access to a chaplain to lead and guide them is key to their success. Steven says he wouldn’t be where he is today without his chaplain, Dan Dilley. Learn more from Dan about how a chaplain plays an integral part in a participant’s journey.

HOW DO CHAPLAINS BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH NEW LIFE PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS?

The chaplain gets to spend literally hours and hours with the person, discussing things, as they are comfortable, at every end of the spectrum. In doing this we start to build trust and relationship. People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR A PARTICIPANT TO HAVE A CHAPLAIN AS A PART OF THIS JOURNEY?

The chaplain prays for the participant on a regular basis. We like to say, “I can’t give you a new life but I know the One who can, and I’m going to point you to Him. His name is Jesus!” Plus, the chaplain is engaged in helping the men with important things like getting an ID, getting a Driver’s License, getting teeth, getting glasses, obtaining needed services, dealing with debt, dealing with legal issues, and the like.

WHAT IS IT LIKE BEING STEVEN’S CHAPLAIN?

Being a chaplain is the purest form of ministry I’ve ever been involved in. There are people waiting in line to allow us to tell them about the One who can give them a new life! That is amazing. What a privilege and honor to do this! Lord, help us to do this in a way that brings glory to Your Name!

 

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Also in this issue:


  • Letter from the CEO

  • RiNo 5k

  • Legacy Giving

  • Why Denver Rescue Mission Matters

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Positive Steps: One man’s journey out of darkness

Each path out of homelessness is unique to the individual. Regardless of statistics and pervasive societal issues, men and women have to address the problems that led them to the streets. Often, people have to deal with significant hurt and brokenness alongside their more overt destructive behaviors.

Philip’s path to homelessness started when he was very young. After being abandoned by his father, he was left in the care of a mom who had her own set of challenges, leading Philip to be raised by his grandmother. As a teenager, he began to feel the effects the abuse and absence of love from his parents, which led him to abusing alcohol.

After struggling with alcoholism for several years, Philip was introduced to crystal methamphetamine, changing his life forever. He found that this new drug left him feeling invigorated, full of life. Meth created a false sense of joy and suppressed his previous pull toward alcohol. He lost his job, his home and his sense of self.

Twelve years into his addiction with crystal meth, Philip attempted to take his life. “My mind played games with me that horrified me and drove me to insanity. God was with me in this desperate moment and He showed me a new way, His way,” he explains. Philip feels that God came to him in his darkest moment and guided him towards a better, brighter life for himself.

“All the brokenness was going to take time to
heal and I had to let the Holy Spirit work in me.” 

He began his journey of recovery at Denver Rescue Mission; two months later he joined the New Life Program at Harvest Farm in Wellington. He got rid of all of his belongings and left his old life behind. Philip chose to purge himself from all triggers his old life sparked. He came to the Farm without a single pair of socks to his name.

Surrounded by supportive staff and other men experiencing similar struggles and addictions, Philip had a newfound sense of hope. “All the brokenness was going to take time to heal and I had to let the Holy Spirit work in me,” he shares. “Daily, the Lord repaired and put the shattered pieces of my life back together.”

“Daily, the Lord repaired and put the
shattered pieces of my life back together.” 

During his time at the Farm, Philip aspired to go to college and pursue a nursing career. He wanted to take positive steps toward living a successful, Godly life. “In the beginning, school was hard for me because of the self-defeatist belief system that I had about myself that had to be dismantled,” he describes. The support and love he received from the Harvest Farm staff was invaluable. Lee, one of the Agriculture Supervisors, was especially helpful to Philip. With Lee’s kind, gentle manner he served as a role model. Philip developed a brotherhood within the Farm community that still exists today.

It took time for Philip to gain the confidence he needed to overcome his fears and sense of inadequacy. “I was insecure, fearful and didn’t have a direction in life. When I decided to become a nurse, I was propped up on the shoulders of the Harvest Farm giants that showed me the way to lead a disciplined life that is fruitful and pleasing to the Lord,” he explains. As Philip opened himself up to those around him, he found that others were very complimentary. They expressed their admiration for his compassion, bravery, and professionalism.

Philip graduated from Harvest Farm in June of 2017. He is currently in his third semester of Nursing School at Front Range Community College. The journey to sobriety and self-sufficiency wasn’t an easy one. Philip worked step by step with the support of staff members to rid himself of his previous destructive behaviors and low self-esteem. He truly sought to “put on the new self” (Ephesians 4:22-24) and transform his life, from the inside out. Philip committed himself to the program and the Lord. Additionally, he has reconnected with his mother. They are working on their relationship. Philip has made the effort to understand his mother’s choices when he was growing up. He is excited to graduate this winter and pursue his new career. He also aspires to own his first home and eventually receive his Masters in Nursing.

You Helped Philip Take Positive Steps…

Help more people out of the darkness

Change Lives

 

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Also in this issue:


  • Letter from the Director

  • Updated Statistics

  • Kitchen Volunteers

  • Why Fort Collins Rescue Mission Matters

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Break the Stigma: Myths About Homelessness

 

HOMELESSNESS: Myths Vs. Facts

 

PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS DON’T WANT TO GET A JOB.

The Fact is…

Experts at the National Coalition for the Homeless estimated that between 40 and 60 % of the homeless population in the United States have jobs.

However, most of those jobs are entry level, minimum wage positions. In Denver, if a person is making minimum wage, he or she would have to work 74 hours a week to afford a modest, one bedroom rental home at fair market rent. Even if a person did “roll up their sleeves” and work 74 hours a week, other obstacles still remain—groceries, utilities, transportation, insurance, child care, etc. Many people in our city simply do not make enough income to afford a rental apartment or home without some form of longterm assistance. This is why we offer a program called Family Rescue Ministry, which provides first month’s rent and deposit along with a mentor team. So, although research continuously shows that people experiencing homelessness have jobs, unfortunately, just getting a job isn’t the end-all solution.

 

HOMELESS PEOPLE ARE ADDICTS, SO IT’S THEIR FAULT THEY’RE HOMELESS

The Fact is…

Of the people enrolled in our programs, the number one reason they give for becoming homeless is job loss.

Other common reasons people become homeless are lowered wages, a health care crisis, increased rent, or a family emergency. For those who do struggle with addictions, mental illness is often at the root of their challenges. People living with mental health disorders are particularly vulnerable to drug and alcohol use. Rather than addiction causing homelessness, it’s more accurate to know mental illness can cause addictive behaviors and unhealthy coping mechanisms, which can lead to homelessness. Many of the people we serve tell us they grew up in homes with abuse, neglect and trauma. In critical development years, they never learned healthy coping skills or how to develop supportive relationships.

 

HOMELESS SHELTERS ARE JUST ENABLING HOMELESSNESS

The Fact is…

Our shelter system is designed to empower people Who are experiencing homelessness to pursue a path off the street.

Without shelters, people experiencing homelessness would not have basic resources for survival. Emergency services provide safety, dignity and hope. Places like our Lawrence Street Shelter and Lawrence Street Community Center provide these basic resources—meals, showers, laundry, drinking water, restrooms, electrical outlets, and safe places off the street and out of the elements. All of our emergency services facilities are staffed with employees who engage with guests, fostering relationships and offering information about our programs and services like Next Step, which is designed to guide people to find permanent and sustainable housing.

 

HOMELESSNESS IS SUCH A BIG CHALLENGE. THERE’S NOTHING I CAN DO.

THE FACT IS…
You can do something.

Donate today and bring hope and lasting change to the lives of people experiencing homelessness.

Change Lives

   

Read the Full Newsletter

        Also in this issue:
  • Letter from the CEO
  • Father’s Day Celebration
  • Hit a Home Run Against Hunger
  • Why Denver Rescue Mission Matters

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Moving Forward: How We Work Together To Change Lives

Moving Forward

When she speaks, Margarita does so with a wisdom that only comes with age. She’s from Barcelona and moved to the states to go to college (she graduated from UC Berkeley). She used to live in a duplex, but when they raised the rent, Margarita could no longer afford to pay it.

She’s been experiencing homelessness in Denver for three years. One Thursday, while she was sitting in the Lawrence Street Community Center, we sat down with her and she shared some of her wise words with us. “Some days I go through things that make me want to pull my hair out,” she said. “Some days I just want to [give up]. But I know that’s not the answer. For me, the answer is to help someone. I never let a day pass that I don’t help somebody. I think that if you help someone move forward—you move forward.”

She isn’t alone; we couldn’t agree more. Because of you, we’ve been helping people move forward for 127 years. And it’s not just us, it’s our partners, too.

 

Help people Move Forward

Donate now and help people like Margarita move forward.

Change Lives

 

Hear are a few ways your donations help us collaborate with organizations and make a difference.

1

HOUSING RESOURCES

“[OneHome] works with the Mission on improving access to housing resources for people experiencing homelessness enrolled in Next Step,” said Bethany MaynardMoody, OneHome program manager. “The ultimate goal is to work together to end homelessness, and not one organization can do that alone, so if we all work together, then that collective impact is quite powerful.” Together, with Bethany and her team, we are finding housing resources through their coordinated entry database for our Next Step members, and our partnership is already having a big impact. This year, 278 people in Next Step have successfully moved out of our shelters and found a path toward housing.

2

WELLNESS AND FAMILY

Every year, dozens of our New Life Program participants work out with Mark McIntosh and his team of volunteers at A Stronger Cord. They have four gyms in the metro area, all focused on challenging each other to become more fitness-minded, dependable and productive. They have a saying, “It all starts with the workout,” says Mark, founder of A Stronger Cord. Of course, Mark and his team believe exercise is important to our health, but they also believe it’s about something more than just being in shape. “When you spend time with these guys experiencing homelessness,” said Mark, “you begin to realize that a lot of them don’t have a family. For us, it’s not just about the workout, it’s about the relationships and the community that comes with pursuing wellness. It’s about family.”

3

AN ATMOSPHERE OF LEARNING AND SUCCESS

Upon moving into The Crossing, our transitional living facility, parents have to make a decision to keep their children at their original school or transfer them to our neighborhood schools in Park Hill. The STAR youth program, in partnership with Denver’s Homeless Education Network, provides guidance for parents on how to make the best choice for each child. Once a decision is made, the Homeless Education Network helps provide school uniforms, meal assistance and transportation needs. “Homeless Education Network is a true blessing to our families,” said Joe Bermingham, Denver Rescue Mission’s youth program coordinator. “School and education are important for our youth, and our partnership creates an atmosphere of learning and success; they remove barriers, providing avenues for homeless children to have a successful school experience.”

4

MEALS

Your donations, coupled with the contributions of We Don’t Waste, help us provide thousands of meals every day. “We Don’t Waste is one of our most important food partners,” said Jeremy Stubbs, food distribution coordinator at the Mission. “Because of them, we always have fresh vegetables, fruit and other essentials on-hand.” Since 2009, We Don’t Waste has recovered more than 30,000,000 meals for people in need. They deliver food to more than 60 human services agencies (plus about 130 more through partner redistribution), and we are thankful to be one of their partners. “We’re proud of the partnership that has been created, fostered and grown with Denver Rescue Mission,” said Arlan Preblud, founder and executive director at We Don’t Waste. “[Together, we are making a] lasting impact on serving those less fortunate in our community.”

Read the Full Newsletter

May 2019 Newsletter Cover

Also in this issue:

  • Letter from the CEO
  • Mother’s Day Celebration
  • Staff Spotlight
  • Why Denver Rescue Mission Matters

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A Common Thread: Brooks’ Story of Recovery

Brooks' story

 

Brooks’ Story

If you’ve ever had a friend, a sibling, a parent, or a significant other, you know that people are different. We disagree; we quibble; we even get annoyed with each other. And despite all of our differences, we share a common thread. Perhaps many threads, but two in particular. We are all human—image bearers of our Creator. And because we’re human, at some point in our story, we have all experienced pain.

Pain looks different for each of us. Bullying. Divorce. Debt. Cancer. Unemployment. Loneliness. Depression. Loss. No matter what our pain looks like, it’s real, it’s difficult and it’s often one of the most defining events of our life story.

Brooks came to us eager to share his story. And why not? He just graduated our New Life Program. When we gave him the space to share, the first thing he spoke of wasn’t his recent achievement or that just two weeks prior he moved into a home after being homeless. The first thing he shared was his pain and the experience that eventually led him to us. “I’d been married a long time,” he said. “When I found out she was cheating on me, I was hurt. I didn’t know what to do. I mean, how are you supposed to know what to do when that happens? I started drinking, and I went down and down and down. I lost my job because all I thought about was masking the pain. I would think about what happened and start drinking. Then, I’d go to sleep, wake up and start drinking, again. I had no interest in life anymore.”

Eventually, Brooks’ drinking became so rampant that he started sleeping in his car. One Friday morning, he found himself standing at the corner of Broadway and Park Avenue. “I remember standing there on the corner of the street,” he said. “I looked up at the sign, the “Jesus Saves” sign. For the first time in my life, I felt like God was speaking to me, like He was inviting me inside.”

 

“I had no interest in life anymore. I was down; I was hurting. But Denver Rescue Mission, and their supporters, gave that back to me.”

 

Brooks went inside and he sat down in our chapel. “Well, it just so happens that there was a graduation ceremony that day,” he said.

The graduation was for the Mission’s New Life Program graduates and there was a man giving a speech. Brooks can’t remember what the man said, exactly, but he remembers being moved. “I sat down in the chapel and listened to him talk. I remember feeling inspired; he was speaking truth. After the ceremony was over, I went up to him and started talking to him. He prayed with me and he told me about the program and encouraged me to enroll. That’s how I ended up at Denver Rescue Mission. Come to find out that the man I was talking to was the CEO, Brad Meuli, and I didn’t even know it!”

That was the day Brooks joined the New Life Program. And in December of 2018, he graduated. “A lot of us have fallen down, we’ve experienced pain and hurt, but the Mission is here to pick you back up, and that’s exactly what they did for me.”

A lot of us will have people come alongside and help us navigate pain well. But there are some people who will struggle to get through it, who will seek to cope with it using drugs and alcohol. Many of the people who come to us for assistance are hurting and reaching out for help in the only ways they know how.

When we’re hurting, we all need a little help to get back on our feet, and that’s okay. It’s hard, and for some, it’s a long road. At the Mission, we specialize in coming alongside people, empathizing with their pain, showing them avenues to get through it, and encouraging them along the way.

But it’s not just us. It’s you, too. As a supporter, you are a part of the work we do. You play a pivotal role in the transformation of peoples’ lives, people like Brooks. “I had no interest in life anymore,” he said. “I was down; I was hurting. But Denver Rescue Mission, and their supporters, gave that back to me.”

 

You Helped Brooks Overcome His Pain…

Help more people overcome theirs by giving today

Change Lives

 

Five New Life Program Components

 

1

SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT

In the first few months of the program, participants attend morning devotions, addiction classes, Bible studies, group seminars, and weekly church services. As they progress, participants are encouraged to invest in spiritual support by connecting with local churches and church-related groups.

2

CASE MANAGEMENT

Chaplains provide case management through weekly appointments that help participants address issues and struggles. Some issues may be spiritual, physical, psychological, legal, financial, medical, educational, and/or employment-related. Chaplains are the biggest advocates for our participants. They set goals and give each person help and encouragement along the way.

3

CHRISTIAN COUNSELING

Participants explore their life story and search for how it fits into God’s larger story. One of our Licensed Professional Counselors or Counseling Interns guides conversations to promote faith and courage, an understanding of suffering and an understanding of how emotions interconnect with spiritual, psychological and physical health. It is a journey into personal wholeness for each of our NLP participants.

4

LIFE SKILLS, EDUCATION AND CAREER

Participants have an opportunity to further their education through our Life Skills, Education and Career Modules. The Education Coordinator assesses basic academic needs (literacy, GED preparation and basic computer skills) and creates an appropriate educational plan, if necessary. Participants also enroll in a Career Development Program through which they explore finding, applying for and keeping employment that matches their skill set and abilities.

5

WORK READINESS

Participants are assigned to a work readiness team where they work a variety of jobs around the Mission. They’re also assigned a supervisor who works with them to ensure they are growing in their employment readiness and skill set. In this part of the program, we aim to impart solid work ethics, positive experiences and valuable soft skills. We also help participants find meaning and value in their work and help them balance work with other areas of their life.

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March 2019 Newsletter Cover

Also in this issue:

  • Letter from the CEO
  • Staff Spotlight
  • Double Your Donation
  • Why Denver Rescue Mission Matters

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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

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Gifts Of The Season: Two Stories From Fort Collins Rescue Mission

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“So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” ROMANS 12:5 (ESV)

 

Keely and Darryl Share Their Stories

When people reflect on Christmas, they often mention faith, joy and family. And the responses don’t change just because someone is experiencing homelessness. But for many of our homeless friends, the holidays can be a reminder of family they no longer see and of the tragedies they’ve encountered.

Keely, a program participant at Fort Collins Rescue Mission, talked about her experience at Christmas last year.

Keely

“Last Christmas, I remember it being extremely cold, and I was literally living outside—no family, no friends. I think a lot of people reflect on family this time of year, but for me, Christmas definitely hasn’t
been good.”

Darryl

“About ten years ago, my son died. He was nine years old. Before he died, I was 14 years sober, but when I lost him, I didn’t know what to do, it was such a tragic feeling … I started using again. I take Christmas a little harder than most people, and that’s what I remember about last Christmas, and not just last Christmas, but every Christmas since he’s passed. I’ve been sober for four years now, but even today, as Christmas approaches, I know I’ll have that feeling of sadness.”

Both Keely and Darryl are part of Fort Collins Rescue Mission’s Steps to Success program. Men and women who join Steps to Success are given a permanent bed, provided with avenues to find a job and taught life skills such as budgeting and time-management.

Perhaps most importantly, though, people enrolled in Steps to Success are provided with a community of support.

“This Christmas feels different,” said Keely “I’ve accepted God back into my life, and I’m looking forward to waking up on Christmas morning and being sober. I’m looking forward to having a place to lay my head on Christmas Eve, and I know that there’s people here for me every step of the way. I’m glad I’m here; I’m very blessed.”

“I know I’ll be thinking about my son,” said Darryl. “But this Christmas, it’s different. I’m reaching out for guidance, and I know I can rely on the staff here. Once you’re homeless, it’s hard to climb out of it and you need help, and that’s why I’m glad the Mission is here, especially on Christmas. They give you a foundation to help you get out of homelessness, and I’ve grown in my faith.”

At the Mission, we can’t change people’s previous experiences, a lot of which has been tainted with hurt, pain and loss. Not knowing where to turn, many of our homeless neighbors have attempted to cope with their hurt through drugs, which in turn leads to a life of seclusion and instability. But your donations help us provide a community of support and sobriety. And during the holidays, our community begins to feel a bit more like family.

“I just feel really cared for here,” said Keely. Recently, after being enrolled in Steps to Success for nearly two months, Keely’s dad was rushed to the hospital. “He’s the only family I have left. I was gone for nine days, just staying with him in the hospital. When I came back to the Mission, every single woman in Steps to Success gave me a hug and asked me about my dad and how I was doing. They had food for me and—it was just so meaningful, it was like family.”

Our family wouldn’t exist without you. Thank you for providing the people we serve with a way out of homelessness during the holiday season, and thanks for being a part of our family at Fort Collins Rescue Mission.

Your Donations Matter.

Giving today means that someone experiencing homelessness can find faith, joy and family. Give the gift of a Merry Christmas.

Give Now

 

Read the Full Newsletter

December 2018 Newsletter Cover

Also in this issue:

  • Letter from the CEO
  • 2018 Christmas Banquet
  • The Mission Service Statistics
  • FCRM Staff On What Christmas Means To Them

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A Place To Be A Kid: Christmas At The Crossing

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CHRISTMAS. FAMILY. HOMELESSNESS.

One of these words does not belong with the others. This Christmas, give the gift of hope for our families at The Crossing.

 

Faces Of Homelessness In Colorado

Children

Did you know that, in Colorado, there are nearly 25,000 homeless students enrolled in schools? In fact, 14,000 of those students live in the seven-county Denver Metro area.*

Several factors contribute to a child experiencing homelessness. The top three are affordable housing, poverty and domestic violence.** At Denver Rescue Mission, we have an average of 50 children living at The Crossing with their parents/guardians. Joe Bermingham, our Youth Coordinator, talked about some of the challenges our kids face when navigating homelessness.

“Most of our kids come from hard pasts,” he said. “They’ve gone through a lot of grown up things in their young life— living in cars, living on the street, abusive situations. Some of them haven’t been able to participate in after-school activities because of transportation issues or because they have to take care of their siblings while their parents work two or three jobs. It’s tough. Many of them just haven’t had a place where they can be a kid.”

That was the motivation for beginning our Youth Program in 2005, to provide a safe place—emotionally, physically and spiritually where kids can just be kids.

Many of The Crossing’s children have lived transient lives and this lack of stability begins to shape all of their experiences. Eight-year-old Isabella shared her family’s story before coming to the Mission, “We were homeless,” she said. “We lived on the streets and then we lived in hotels; we lived in a car, too. I was very excited when we came here because it looks a lot safer than other places we lived. My mom and dad always have smiles on their face, now.”

 

I was very excited when we came here because it looks a lot safer than other places we lived. My mom and dad always have smiles on their face, now.”

 

One of the most perpetuating issues of homelessness is its impact on children. A child without a stable home is twice as likely to repeat a grade, be expelled, be suspended, or drop out of high school.** “A lot of our kids are anywhere from a month to three years behind in school,” says Joe. “It’s not that they’re not intelligent, it’s just that, before they came here, they were homeless and they’ve missed a lot of school.”

Reading and Writing Club (which also includes math tutoring) is one of the ways the Mission is fighting back against poverty’s impact on children. The club is hosted at our Denver Broncos Youth Center every Monday through Thursday after school.

The kids spend 45 minutes with staff, interns and volunteers receiving tutoring and homework help. “The purpose of the club is to help the kids catch up to their grade level,” said Joe. “On their first day, we do an assessment, we find out their reading level and their math level. Then, we begin working to help them progress from there.”

When asked about how he hopes the program impacts kids, Joe thought about it for a few seconds and said, “You know, these kids really are brilliant. And many of them have never had the opportunity to live the life of a normal kid. We just want to come alongside them and create an atmosphere of trust and security and, of course, create a place where kids can be kids.”

With your help, we’re creating that space, not just for the kids, but for their families, too. Thank you for supporting our youth, and thank you for providing our families at The Crossing with a merry Christmas!

*colorado.org/content/story/colorado-sees-surge-child-homelessness
**childtrends.org/indicators/homeless-children-and-youth

You Can Help This Christmas

Your donations allow us to provide these children and their parents with an opportunity to thrive.

Give Now

 

Here’s How We’re Celebrating This Christmas

Smiling Child

CHRISTMAS 4 KIDS

What’s Christmas 4 Kids? It’s a big gift wrapping party! One week before Christmas, our donors and Crossing parents get together to wrap special gifts for our kids to open on Christmas morning. It’s a blast!

Little Girl With Gift

WHIZ KIDZ CHRISTMAS PARTY

Whiz Kidz is a non-profit with more than 50 sites that serve more than 800 students, grades 1 through 5, to provide one-on-one tutoring. In December, all of our children invite their tutors to The Crossing, and together, they sing carols and have a Christmas party!

Two Broncos Players

19TH ANNUAL BRONCO’S HOLIDAY PARTY

Whiz Kidz is a non-profit with more than 50 sites that serve more than 800 students, grades 1 through 5, to provide one-on-one tutoring. In December, all of our children invite their tutors to The Crossing, and together, they sing carols and have a Christmas party!

Your Gifts Are Making A Huge Impact

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162 HOUSEHOLDS

Moved into permanent housing.

Child at desk icon

152 CHILDREN

living at The Crossing completed 3,270 hours of homework.

Two people in classroom icon

22 OF OUR YOUTH

received tutoring, support and encouragement from mentors.

Read the Full Newsletter

December 2018 Newsletter Cover

Also in this issue:

  • Letter from the CEO
  • 104.3 The Fan Presents A Season Of Hope
  • Donate A Vehicle
  • Mark Schlereth and Mike Evans on Why Denver Rescue Mission Matters

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Thanks-for-Giving!

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November is for thankfulness

And we want to thank you for giving because,
without you, we wouldn’t be able to impact the lives of thousands of people.

 

TURKEY DRIVE

Donated Turkeys

15,000. That’s how many frozen fowl we’re hoping to collect this year, and we need your help!

Each turkey will be given to an individual or family who needs it, helping them have a special Thanksgiving. You can donate turkeys online or in-person at the Lawrence Street Shelter, the Ministry Outreach Center or The Crossing.

THANKSGIVING BANQUET-IN-A-BOX

Lady donating turkey

3,000. That’s how many boxes of food we will give out when we take over the parking lot at Broncos Stadium at Mile High later this month. Each box will be filled with a Thanksgiving feast—turkey, potatoes, veggies and more!

Because of your generosity, thousands of families in our city will have a meal to eat on Thanksgiving.

GREAT THANKSGIVING BANQUET

A person eating

800. On Wednesday, November 21, we’re treating 800+ of our friends and neighbors experiencing homelessness to an enormous Thanksgiving meal!

Hundreds of people will fill the Lawrence Street Community Center to enjoy good food, community and gifts. Because of your generosity, thousands of families in our city will have a meal to eat on Thanksgiving.

For people experiencing homelessness, “Happy Thanksgiving” starts with you.

Give Now

 

Read the Full Newsletter

October 2018 Newsletter Cover

Also in this issue:

  • Letter from the CEO
  • KBCO Radiothon
  • Colorado Gives Day
  • Brad Strait, Senior Pastor, on Why Denver Rescue Mission Matters

Download Now