Couple helps homeless families get back on track

Posted at 11:50 AM, Apr 04, 2016
Helping the homeless, one family at a time. 
That is the goal of several area churches and 7Everyday Heroes Kathy and Mike Dano. 
Inside Lakewood United Methodist Church is a different kind of sanctuary - one that welcomes homeless families with open arms. 
"When they come here they have food, a safe, warm place to sleep, and that's often all that's required," said Mike. 
Mike and Kathy volunteer to help the homeless through Family Promise of Greater Denver. 
"We generally serve families who are in Denver County, Arapahoe County or Jefferson County," said Allie Card, Executive Director of Family Promise of Greater Denver. 
Family Promise has 26 congregations, like Lakewood United Methodist, that provide space at night for homeless families trying to get back on their feet. 
The church has enough rooms on its basement level that each of the three to five families can have their own room for the week. 
Family Promise has a day shelter where clients can work on resumes and other job seeking opportunities. 
At night, each of the participating churches take turns providing a place to sleep, eat and bathe. 
Each church does this for a solid week about once a quarter. 
And that means volunteers like Kathy and Mike need to spend the night at the church for that week, too. 
"What I love about them both is they are calm forces - rational, lovely, organized people," said Pastor Betty Bradford. 
"It is also very encouraging and inspiring to see a young couple who is raising their own family to be so involved in this mission," said Card. 
"It feels like a very personal way to connect and we might not be saving the world but we're helping on a very small scale," said Kathy. 
Actually, Kathy and Mike's commitment changes families' lives in a big way. 
"In 2015 we served 73 families who were experiencing homelessness," said Card.
Nationally, in 2015, with 192 affiliates in 42 states, Family Promise improved the financial condition of 86 percent of the families it assisted.
The results speak for themselves: 72 percent moved into more stable housing and 71 percent of adults were employed or enrolled in a degree program. 
All of that begins with volunteers like Mike and Kathy Dano. 
"There are people out there who need help and this is a great way getting them the help that they need," said Mike.
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Mitch Jelniker anchors 7NEWS Now in the mornings from 4:30 to 7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on 7NEWS. Follow Mitch on Facebook and Twitter. Nominate a 7Everyday Hero here