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“Before the renovations, the only way you could access this building is if you could move up and down the stairs. Now, with the new ramp, elevator and [beds] that are not stacked, anyone with any kind of physical impairment can assess this building and move around freely within this space.”
– John Morarie, Vice President of Operations
Thanks to support from the City of Denver and generous donors like you, Denver Rescue Mission recently renovated and upgraded our Lawrence Street Shelter
Roy* has struggled with homelessness ever since an auto accident crushed his lower spine four years ago. He would often wheel himself to our “Jesus Saves” shelter, at the corner of Lawrence Street and Park Avenue, to eat, play his guitar and find comfort with one of our chaplains.
One thing he could not do is stay overnight in our men’s shelter, because there was no ramp for his wheelchair to access this 100-year-old building and no elevator to help him reach the bed area. Instead, he was forced to find other places to sleep—until now!
Thanks to support from the City of Denver and generous donors like you, Denver Rescue Mission recently renovated and upgraded our Lawrence Street shelter so that it will truly be a beacon of hope to everyone in our community devastated by homelessness.
Here are just a few of the ways the City and your donations are making a real difference in the lives of people seeking hope and a way out at Denver Rescue Mission:
Renew their hope and offer them the support
they need to escape the streets for good
Now, men like Roy will not only be able to eat meals here, they will have access to a warm bed, safety, case management, and many other critical services that will renew their hope and offer them the support they need to escape the streets for good.
Hope is a word we use a lot around here. Today, thanks to the support of friends like you, the renovations you helped make possible have created an environment that feels safe, clean, bright and secure—an environment where they really can find hope.
Check out our June 2021 Changing Lives newsletter to see more about the renovations at the Lawrence Street Shelter, including a video with a look inside the new shelter space.
*Name changed to protect the privacy of the client.
He felt totally defeated, without any dreams or hope for his future.
According to the most recent research from Mental Illness Policy Org**, at least 25% of men and women living on the streets suffer from some kind of serious mental illness. Dennis* was one of them.
When Dennis first came to Denver Rescue Mission, he had been chronically homeless for nearly seven years, and he suffered a mental disorder that caused him to hear “voices” in his head for at least 15 years. He felt totally defeated, without any dreams or hope for his future. Unable to hold down a job, his goals in life were to get high and to get on disability—$550 a month. Because that’s all he thought he was worth.
Over the next several weeks and months, we heard more about Dennis’s tragic story. Like most men who come to Denver Rescue Mission struggling with addiction, he had suffered horrific abuse as a child. He turned to drugs to help him cope with that trauma. And when the symptoms of his mental disorder began to emerge, his drug addiction worsened.
Dennis believed his life would never change. We tried to convince him that, with treatment and medications, he could have a much brighter future. He could work again, get his own apartment, and live independently. In conversation after conversation, we continued to encourage him, pray with him and support him. He often wanted to give up.
Dennis is proud of how far he’s come and he now has hope for his future.
Slowly, however, Dennis began to see God working in his life, and he started to believe that maybe a new life was really possible after all. Eventually, he started a full-time job. Then, with his job experience, he took another better, paying job after thatr Today, Dennis has been sober for a year and a half. He is now in transitional housing, saving money and proud of how far he’s come-and he now has hope for his future.
As Denver Rescue Mission’s Director of Residential Programs, I see transformation stories like Dennis’s every day-and those stories have changed my life. Dennis made me stop and ask, how many times have I limited my own self, sabotaged my own dreams? Where have I limited myself and where can I dream bigger dreams?
When you invest in someone like Dennis, you ‘re truly saving someone’s life.
I hope Dennis’s story encourages donors like you. When you invest in someone like him, you’re truly saving someone’s life. Many of the people you support here would die apart from the support your gift offers, not from hunger or homelessness, but from hopelessness. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, “I had no hope until I came to Denver Rescue Mission.” Thanks to donors like you, thousands of hopeless men and women over the years have received the real help they need to live new lives, set new goals, walk into brand new futures and even change someone else’s life—someone like you and me.
By Jonathan Soweidy, Director of Residential Programs at Denver Rescue Mission
*Client’s name and photo have been changed for privacy purposes.
**Source: Mental Illness Policy Org. 2020: https://mentalillnesspolicy.org/consequences/homeless-mentally-ill.html
Both parents were disabled. Unable to afford a place to live with their limited income.
As a case manager, I help serve individuals and families devastated by homelessness at Denver Rescue Mission. Sometimes, it’s so heartbreaking to see how difficult it can be for our struggling neighbors to find adequate housing when they need it most. Often, they face nearly impossible barriers to find someplace to live, which is why family homelessness in Denver is so tragically high. But I love this work.
One family I recently worked with included a mom and dad, who both had disabilities. Unable to afford a place to live with their limited income, they ended up living in a tent on the streets along with their preteen daughter. Later, they learned about Denver Rescue Mission and joined our one-year STAR Transitional Program.
I immediately went to work helping them overcome their barriers. I quickly discovered that the mom had a college degree, and before long, we helped her find a high-paying, full-time job in her field, with an employer willing to work with her disability. Over the next several months, she was able to save $7,000 and finally moved her family into their own apartment, completely self-sufficient!
I get to partner with Jesus and help individual and families move from brokenness and homelessness to wholeness.
I’ve been doing this kind of work for eight years now, and I can’t imagine doing anything else. Every day, I get to partner with Jesus and help individuals and families move from brokenness and homelessness to wholeness. Every day, I see Jesus jump into someone’s life to bring holistic healing and to help them thrive. Every day, I witness how hard people—people who have been so hurt—are willing to work to better their lives. And when I see them make those breakthroughs, I am filled with so much gratitude for our Lord’s faithfulness.
When people in Denver read about homelessness or see it on the news, I’m sure it can seem like it’s hopeless. But if there’s one thing I wish you, as a donor, could see—it’s how much hope there is here. The men, women and children we serve are filled with all the boundless potential that God has blessed them with, and when they realize that potential, hope is reborn.
What you are doing as a donor of Denver Rescue Mission is truly God’s Kingdom work. You’re truly advancing God’s Kingdom, changing lives in Christ’s name, transforming families, and even changing our entire Denver community. And I’m so grateful for everything you do.
By Laura Hall, former Case Management Supervisor. Laura moved on from the Mission November 2020.
Denver Rescue Mission is absolutely committed to serving our community of Denver in the name of Jesus Christ. As director of the Ministry Outreach Center, I help leverage the resources God has given us, through caring people like you, to better the lives of our vulnerable neighbors in low-income households. Recently, we helped…
…outfit a gentleman, who ended up homeless in the COVID-19 crisis, with a brand-new pair of shoes so he could make a fresh start at a new job.
…comfort a mother and her grown daughter, who were living in a park, with handmade quilts, food from our food pantry, new clothing and hygiene products.
Every day, we walk alongside people in our community, just as Jesus would….
…provide furniture to five vulnerable families who lost everything in an apartment fire and had to start over from scratch.
…employ a man who went with through our rehabilitation program, giving him valuable job skills and the chance to build a resume so he could one day find a better job and live independently.
Every day, we walk alongside struggling men, women and children in our community, just as Jesus would, offering them physical and emotional comfort, including food, clothing, love, friendship and so much more.
Jesus is our model.
Jesus is our model. As Christians, this work of serving our struggling neighbors is central to our identity in Christ. Just as Jesus committed his life to caring for people who were hurt, sick, poor, broken, outcast and oppressed, all of us who minister at Denver Rescue Mission want that same heart of compassion to beat in us as well.
The work we do is not always glamourous. In fact, it’s often messy. Every day, we witness the scars and wounds that have devastated so many lives. We hear their horrific stories, and we begin to understand why they made so many of the decisions they’ve made in their lives. Many times, just listening to those stories, we experience their trauma as well.
We see how God can show up in someone’s life and completely restore them.
But, on the other hand, we also witness miracles every day. We see how small things, like a pair of shoes, a bag of groceries, a hug, a smile or a word of encouragement, can make such a huge difference in a life. We see how God can show up in someone’s life and completely restore them. We watch in awe as people who were once on their last leg rediscover joy, hope and a brand-new future.
Every gift you give, every item you donate, every prayer you pray, reminds someone here that you care.
As a donor, so many of the miracles we witness are all because of you. I wish you could see that for yourself. You have no idea the role you truly play. One of the most tragic things I hear from the people we serve is how they feel so alone, how they feel like no one is in their corner—until they discover they are not alone, that someone really is in their corner. And that someone is you. Every gift you give, every item you donate, every prayer you pray, reminds someone here that you care. That you’re in their corner. If you could see how much power there is in that, it would change your life.
By Jesse Ludema
Director of Ministry Outreach at Denver Rescue Mission
*Some names and images have been changed for privacy purposes.