David spent 20 years sleeping in tents, struggling with addiction and feeling like life would never get any better. But when the kindness of strangers saved him from some of Denver’s coldest nights, he began to have hope that there was more to life than living on the streets.

“There were many acts of kindness that brought me to tears, because after living that way for so long, you start really feeling like no one cares—why would anyone want to help me? Look at me. Look what I am. Look what I’ve become.

I had a camp in an open field, with no one else around. I didn’t have a heater and the forecast was negative seven degrees for two or three days in a row. Someone showed up a couple times, not even knowing I needed something, and brought me a bottle of propane with a connecter and heater you can attach to it. That was a lifesaver.

You want to hug them, but you don’t want to get too close in fear of their reaction. Because when you’re sitting there—your fingers and hands filthy, your fingernails dirty underneath and your clothes dirty, and there’s this person pulling up in this really nice car and they’re dressed really nice—there’s an amount of shame that you carry with you. It’s debilitating in a way because your self-esteem, your self-worth is in the toilet. Look where you’re living. Look how you’re living. That’s not the way someone who has a healthy self-image would live. But you have that desire in your heart to say thank you. Just thank you. You saved my life—do you even know this? And that’s what makes those special moments really life changing.”

After so many years, David began to wonder is this all there is? Desperation took ahold of David and brought him to our Lawrence Street Shelter (LSS), and that’s when he realized he had an opportunity to change his life. Thanks to the encouraging staff and the resources available to him, he was motivated for a future unlike his past.

“There were many acts of kindness that brought me to tears…”


Not only did he receive a hot meal and a bed at LSS, but he reconnected with his love of music. Emergency Services Chaplain, Jay Earl Krebs, gave David an opportunity to play his guitar anytime he wanted, and that simple act of trust to be responsible with his guitar, was a pivotal point for David.

“He was so encouraging. It doesn’t matter what you look like, what you’re wearing or what you smell like, he’ll pull you alongside him and he just cares. He tipped the scale for me as to whether or not I wanted to seek help.”

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“He was so encouraging. It doesn’t matter what you look like, what you’re wearing or what you smell like, he’ll pull you alongside him and he just cares. He tipped the scale for me as to whether or not I wanted to seek help.”


Now, David is in the New Life Program (NLP), our rehabilitation program for men at The Crossing, and is excited about the future. In learning about family wounds and the dynamics of family in his classes, he is  restoring his relationships with his own family.

“I’m talking to my two oldest daughters now and I have four grandkids that I’m going to go see when I graduate,” David said. “I have goals set now and realize how attainable goals really can be when you just buckle down and decide to do something.”

But most of all, he is grateful to God and for the Mission for turning his life around. “You have the saying, ‘Hope Starts Here,’ but nobody really gets that until they are neck deep in this program,” he said. “God is really good at taking a broken person and making them into something new and beautiful. That’s what he’s doing with a lot of us guys here—I see a lot of guys changing.”

We Make Sure Our Shelters Are:


There is always someone watching out for the safety of our guests and staff.

So Our Guests Can Focus On:

Forming Healthy Habits

In housing, you have to be thoughtful of how you treat your neighbor, how loud you play your music and where you can throw your trash away, so it is beneficial for our guests to have an awareness of how their behavior impacts those around them.


With the locker underneath the beds, guests can go out for the day, get things accomplished or go to a meal without carrying their medication or important documents around with them.

So Our Guests Can Focus On:

Getting Resources

Having a reserved bed allows guests to have a little stability. We can then get them messages about a housing connection or a medical or mental health appointment more quickly.


Thanks to our custodial team, our shelters are kept clean and sanitary for our guests.

So Our Guests Can Focus On:

Changing Their Lives

The clean environment allows staff and guests to focus on having valuable conversations. For example, if a guest says, “It’s cold in here,” we will respond with, “Let’s get you into a place where you can control the thermostat,” to communicate that they have agency to change their experience for themselves.


We work to make our shelters an environment where our guests can sleep with both eyes closed.

So Our Guests Can Focus On:

Reaping the Benefits of Sleep

When guests know they’re safe and can sleep soundly, their physical and mental health improves, which then allows them to focus on their next steps into housing.

Help Us Provide Hope for People in Need

With your help, we can give someone like David hope for a new life at Denver Rescue Mission. Your generosity makes an impact.

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  • More than a Roof
  • The Mission in My Words: Debbie Trujillo
  • Letter from Our CEO
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