A year ago, I was in Washington, DC, with CEOs from Rescue Missions across the country to learn about legislation that might impact our organizations and to meet with our congressional leaders. On the last day, my phone started lighting up with text messages from home about COVID-19. All the offices of senators and representatives started closing because an aide had tested positive. Anyone who had traveled had to leave. When I boarded a plane home, I did not have any idea what we would be going through or what the future might hold.
In our March newsletter, you will read about some of the good that has come out of the past year. We do not have the space in this newsletter to share everything, and the list is long. Having shelters that operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week is one of those good things, and you will read about the various benefits in this edition.
The great news is that we will be able to continue offering 24/7 sheltering to guests thanks to your support. In partnership with the City of Denver, we will be operating a new 24/7 shelter called 48th Avenue East with more beds available. We anticipate this opening in the spring, God willing.
Additionally, I am very excited to share with you that we will be reopening our Lawrence Street Shelter soon, after remodeling it to follow Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines (including a new elevator!) and improving the basement to provide socially distanced beds.
Among our Denver facilities, including Lawrence Street Shelter, 48th Avenue Center and our overflow shelter, Holly Center, we will now be able to shelter 1,000 men per night while maintaining social distancing. Of these beds, 675 will be available 24/7.
This change to 24/7 sheltering requires a significant increase in staff and resources. A year ago, I never would have imagined that the Mission would have approximately 340 staff members across our various facilities. I am in awe of God’s provision during this time. God has watched over us and guided us through this herculean effort over the last year, and we are not finished moving forward.
Please know that we could not have done this without your financial support and heartfelt prayers. Thank you for joining in this journey with us!
Brad Meuli has been President/CEO at the Mission since 2001. Brad joined the Mission after a 17-year career in banking. Previous to his staff position he served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Read his full bio.
This post is part of March’s Changing Lives Newsletter. In this edition, COVID-19: One Year Later, you’ll read about some of the silver linings that the Mission and our guests have experienced during this challenging year.