“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”1 Peter 4:10
At the Mission, our work is enhanced by our community partnerships. Our life-changing programs and services help people rebuild their lives, while our partners come alongside the individuals doing the hard work to ensure their success. No matter where an individual is in their journey to self-sufficiency, we work together with a common goal: to get people into housing.
Ultimately, the work we do at Denver Rescue Mission is about the PEOPLE we serve, the LIVES that are changed and the HOPE that is found. We work together with donors, volunteers, staff, as well as many community providers who help us connect people to resources to get them into housing as efficiently as possible.
We don’t house anybody alone.
When a guest steps through our front door for the first time, we are ready to take them as far as they want to go on their pathway out of homelessness. Their first step is with intake managers and peer navigators (people who themselves have been homeless and now are not) who work with guests to help them develop an individualized plan with steps and goals to move out of homelessness.
For example, we may start by asking questions such as: Do you have family or friends you could stay with? Where were you staying before you became homeless and how can we help you get back to that place?
Deb Butte, the Mission’s director of homelessness resolution, remembers a recent guest at the downtown shelter who had been living with his grandmother. His grandmother was on a fixed income and couldn’t afford to feed him, so we helped the guest secure food stamps, and he went back to live with her.
We feed and nourish, encourage and keep track of their progress. Once a guest is in our system, they become part of a communitywide database, connecting them to more than a dozen services.
“I was on the streets sleeping in my truck, needing my meds and food…. I was referred here, and it changed my life. These people want you to leave here whole . . . mind, body and spirit. I am thankful for the help they are giving me.”Rick, Shelter Guest
That doesn’t mean it is easy or simple. “Everybody comes with these Gordian knot stories that have to be untied in order to be stably housed,” Deb said. “Our case managers are in no way going to be the experts on all those things that make up the Gordian knot—housing, criminal justice records, Social Security, the medical field, and employment. So, we try to figure out what are the things that everybody needs, and then connect the guests to the experts.” After going through the intake process, a guest is connected to a case manager.
Pathway Out Of Homelessness
Collecting the guest’s information, asking them for their story and making sure they actually have to be in shelter.
Determining a guest’s needs, informing them of resources and community providers they need to get connected with and creating a plan to help guide them through the process.
A guest’s needs can be put into four categories:
Birth certificate, state-issued photo ID, Social Security card, and more
BENEFITS & SERVICES
Mental and medical healthcare, food stamps, cell phone, mailing address, and more
Employment income or Social Security income
People or support from the community who will keep someone stable
We have learned that the pathway out of homelessness is different depending on each person’s unique needs.
Each shelter guest that comes to us most likely needs to be connected to 10 to 15 other providers. This can be overwhelming for them to navigate, which is why offering community support can mean the difference between feeling hopeless and hopeful. A case manager will help assess what those needs are, and connect guests with community providers, several of which come directly into Mission facilities to provide tangible services such as healthcare and employment services.
The guest really matters to us.
“We’re going to see what each person needs and get them connected as quickly as possible,” Deb said. “There are often other organizations that can help move them forward, so we’re going to connect our guests to anyone who can help.”
The work we do alongside our community comes down to the people we serve. They are the reason that, together, we continue our work to help change lives.
“In no time have I ever had a Social Security card, which puts me at a large disadvantage because I cannot prove who I am. I can’t get food stamps, can’t get any kind of assistance. Denver Rescue Mission and all of its people are great. It is the best place that I have found. They accept us for who we are and try to help in any way they can.”
“I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. They put me on disability, and I basically couldn’t work. I wound up at the Mission to get back on track. I got a case manager and just got approved for Section 8 housing. The resources here have been awesome. They have staff members with the same background who have transitioned to become better people and want to make sure everybody here comes out of whatever they went through in their life. I’m grateful for the Mission.”
“I just got accepted for an apartment. I want to thank everyone, whoever you are out there, you know who you are. I thank God for you for donating to this place because it does work. There’s a lot of people who have come here and they’ve been changed. They have a new outlook, and we encourage each other. We’re just like a family and because of your donations and help, it’s helped Denver Rescue Mission continue.”
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