More and more in the communities where we work, housing instability is directly linked to income instability. The rising cost of rent and homeownership throughout Colorado is burdening thousands of households trying to make a living. It’s easy to assume that housing insecurity is directly related to something someone did. However, in the current housing market, being cost-burdened has become the new normal. Staff at Denver Rescue Mission often hear from individuals entering our shelters for the first time and from families like Derricsa’s, who have had stable housing in the past, that they were surprised when their rent went up by 30 percent. At an increasing rate, owners of apartment complexes have converted them into condominiums or stopped caring about basic maintenance while they waited for a property to sell.
Along the Colorado Front Range, first-time homelessness is on the rise, which means our Mission staff are working hard to re-house individuals and families that would otherwise languish in homelessness. Family Rescue Ministry (FRM) is one of the Mission’s longest-running programs, simply because it works. Many households experiencing homelessness have income coming in, but it is not enough for them to save for a security deposit and first month’s rent payment. That’s where FRM steps in.
However, financial support is only a portion of how FRM supports a family. As you will read in Derricsa’s story, FRM creates relational connections and community support by introducing families to mentor teams. Our mentors love families so well. They come alongside them, cheer them on, and provide emotional and tangible support. Too often, financial poverty is linked to relational poverty—when there is no one to call for help. Through our mentor teams, we overturn this cycle of relational poverty.
Within each of the Mission’s programs, our aim is to assist participants in four key areas: employment, housing, habits, and healthy community. It’s easy for us to understand the first three of these four focus areas, but we don’t always think about how healthy relationships impact our long-term stability. FRM provides a platform for us to not only re-house those experiencing homelessness, but to also introduce them to a support system.
Thank you for being part of our healthy community and investing in the lives of people currently struggling with housing instability, homelessness, poverty, and addiction.
Vice President of Programs
This post is part of September’s Changing Lives Newsletter. This month, you’ll read about Derricsa and her family finding stability and a home with help from Family Rescue Ministry.