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Denver Rescue Mission remodels shelter to increase capacity and services

Denver Rescue Mission
Posted at 4:44 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 10:30:45-04

DENVER -- When Toby Strickland came to Denver a few months ago, he knew he’d need help to get back on his feet.

"We all need inspiration, we all need somebody who is willing to help us along the way," said Strickland.

Strickland says he found that help and more at the Denver Rescue Mission.

"I got a counselor that helps keep me on my toes and she helps keep me directed on where I need to go," said Strickland.

Thanks to more than million-dollar grant from the city. The once crowded shelter with bunk beds has transformed into a space filled with light and beds spaced out across the room.

"Providing them with a comfortable bed and a place where they feel safe and supported is really that first step," said senior director of emergency services for Denver Rescue Mission, Tracy Brooks.

Add to that an ADA ramp outside and a brand new elevator. Increasing accessibility and dignity when people walk in the door.

"I believe that shelter is not a long term solution for anybody and so our goal is to really move individuals into long term solutions and get them places where they can be stably house," said Brooks.

Because of the increase in beds, case managers were also added. Along with a 24 hour shelter in the basement level, designated for people who have a job or have recently become homeless.

"You want to keep focused on what you need to do but when you see that other person you know what it is like, you know where you’ve been at and I don’t want that no more," said Strickland.

Chief housing officer for City and County of Denver, Britta Fisher, says upgrades to the shelter also add stability.

"What this means is that somebody who is working and maybe working night shifts still has access during the days to sleep, have a quiet place and also access services," said Fisher.

By giving people a place to lay their head, cleaning their bed sheets everyday and giving them the ability to wash their clothes, it gives them a greater sense of what life outside the shelter looks like.

"By having these sheltering environments be as housing-like as possible with around the clock access, accessibility and integrated services, we’re providing more stability as people transition back into housing," said Fisher.