DENVER — “The need is just greater this time of year, and we just need to step up as best we can,” said Lucille Echohawk, who co-founded the Denver Indian Family Resource Center almost 24 years ago.
Echohawk is now 80 years old and still volunteers at the center. She said the need for culturally responsive help for Native American families and youth remains high in the Denver metro area.
“So many families we see have housing issues, and families can't be healthy if they don't have a proper roof over their head,” Echohawk said.
That’s why the center created its sister organization, the Native American Housing Circle.
But their work is facing obstacles. They’re going through a budget shortfall and soon will be forced to leave the building where they operate.
Denver7 | Gives
Denver group helping Native American families is losing its building
Denver7 Gives introduced our viewers to the center last month. Since then, viewers have generously opened their hearts — and wallets — to help. Denver7 on Monday presented the center with a check for more than $1,000 raised by viewers.
“We're very optimistic that everything will go well,” Echohawk said. “So much appreciation, certainly, to Channel 7 and viewers."
Echohawk said their search for a new building continues.
“Hopefully, more leads will come,” she said. “I'm very optimistic, and then very thankful that the building owners aren't going to turn us out in the street, hopefully, at Christmas time.”
Echohawk said the center is “that go-between resource” connecting Native Americans with tribal nations and county governments to get help with mental health, housing and other needs.
Native American Heritage Month: New project in Denver address housing crisis
As temperatures drop, she expects more community members will need help securing shelter. Echohawk said it “feels good that we're able to do that,” and support from donors will keep their efforts alive.
“We very much appreciate the assistance that Channel 7 has given,” she said.
She also invites those who want to help to donate on Colorado Gives Day.
“The ultimate vision of this organization is that we will have so many strong families in the Native American community here that there will be no Native children in foster care,” she said. “Perfect, great goal to have; hard one to achieve. But we continue to work hard to meet that goal.”
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