With each Colorado snowstorm, there are many men and women in need searching for warmth and safety from the harsh environment. This winter, the city of Northglenn and Denver Rescue Mission are providing 25 extra beds to those experiencing homelessness in Northglenn.
After a new recreation center was built in Northglenn, the city’s Crisis Response Unit saw a use for the old building that was sitting empty. With winter on the way, they approached the Mission about opening a temporary shelter.
The Northglenn Shelter opened on December 15 and will remain in operation through August 31.* One way guests can stay at the shelter is by going through an intake process with the Crisis Response Unit’s case workers, where they must prove to be working or have something to occupy them during the day. “If someone doesn’t have a job, then they can sign up with an agency called Work Options where they could, for example, go to culinary school for six weeks and get a certification,” explained Paula Ordaz, an emergency services shelter supervisor at the Mission.
There are 20 spots for those individuals, and the other five spots are for those who police pick up on the streets and escort to the shelter so they can have a warm place to sleep. “The community of guests are awesome,” Paula said. “They treat each other like a big family. Most of them already know each other and support each other.”
Not only have the guests been a support to one another, they have helped support the staff at the temporary shelter as well. “On snowy days they have chipped in to help shovel the sidewalk. They don’t ask, they just grab the shovel and go outside to do it,” Paula said. “They keep their bed areas clean and respect the bathrooms and common areas too.”
Operating the shelter wouldn’t be possible without the support from the surrounding community. From the police, to the case workers, to local churches, it has truly been a community effort to keep Northglenn’s vulnerable neighbors warm this winter.
“We’ve had a huge outpouring from the city,” Paula said. “I have a calendar of people who are providing meals, such as—the Catholic Church down the street, a woman who brings dinner both Tuesday and Thursday every single week, a church that comes every Saturday night, and a couple with the American Legion who brings clothes, toiletries, paper products, and food.”
On December 17, a church group came to Northglenn shelter to sing Christmas music, share a Christmas message and talk and pray with the guests.
On Christmas morning, 17 volunteers from a local church helped serve breakfast, talked with the guests and helped clean the facility by washing the windows, sweeping and mopping floors and wiping down the tables and chairs.
All of the support from the community has given Mission staff the chance to really connect with the guests in a way that is more difficult to do at our larger shelter locations. “It’s really chill compared to 48th and Lawrence Street because you can actually sit down, have conversations and eat dinner with them,” Paula said. “The relationships that we are able to create to show the love of Jesus is amazing.”
How to Support the Northglenn Shelter
Volunteer to help serve meals, clean and mingle with the guests, and more at the Northglenn Shelter, or donate much needed items such as toiletries, adult winter gear, socks, paper products or nonperishable food! Learn more or sign up to volunteer now!
These types of items are needed at the Northglenn Shelter this winter:
- Adult winter gear
- Paper products
- Nonperishable food Items
These items can be donated at our Ministry Outreach Center or directly at the Northglenn Shelter.
Thank you for joining us as we care for our neighbors in need this winter. Your support is not only giving them warmth but hope for the future. “To see the light that has been brought back into the lives that are staying here is so satisfying to see,” Paula said. “I am so thankful for all of the support—this could not have happened without everyone chipping in and doing their part. God is good and I’m always amazed at the work He does.”
Written by: Linneya Gardner, Content Specialist
*Updated on April 1 to adjust how long the Northglenn Shelter will remain in operation.