Shelter From The Cold
January’s weather was unseasonably warm during the day, but overnight lows still hovered around 21 °F and dipped as low as -1 °F. These temperatures are still dangerously low. Add biting windchill, snow and extended exposure without shelter, and you have a recipe for frostbite and hypothermia.
Thanks to generous support throughout the community, we were able to provide shelter for up to 300 men and women without anyplace to stay during these cold, winter nights. On average, 65 women and 216 men stayed in our shelters – off the streets – every night. In total, we provided nearly 8,700 nights of shelter in January alone.
And here’s a fun, little known fact: We provide kennels for our guests’ pets. For many of our guests, their pets are their best friends. Some will risk a night in the cold before they’ll abandon their closest companion to stay in a shelter. So, in January alone, we provided 366 nights of shelter for our guests’ dogs and cats as well.
There are currently 49 men working during the day but staying in our shelter at night until they find affordable permanent housing. To encourage and serve these neighbors’ needs on their pathway out of homelessness, we’ve started offering after-hour access to showers in our resource center, an additional breakfast time slot in the morning, and reserved beds in a special section of our shelter for working guests.
The Busiest Kitchen in Town
Although we provided fewer meals in January than we did in December, our kitchen still served an impressive 16,600 meals. Thanks to a food truck purchased through a grant from El Pomar Foundation and Anschutz Foundation, we were able to rescue and transport 1,200 lbs. of food from The Broadmoor to help provide nutritious meals.
Every day, around 20 men and women staying in our shelters participate in Work Engagement opportunities around our campus. These guests are pivotal in keeping our shelters, resource center, kitchen and dining room clean. After they finish their morning work shifts, many join our staff and volunteers for lunch. This month, we’ve had so many shelter guests participate in Work Engagement that we had to add another lunch service.
Unfortunately, running out of space in our dining room is a growing trend. Our kitchen staff and volunteers continually find creative ways to prepare more than 530 meals a day in a kitchen smaller than a two-car garage and serve meals in a dining room that only seats 65 people. We’re still seeking funds to break ground on an industrial kitchen and a 250-seat dining room, but until then, we’re adding more and more meal-shifts to meet the growing needs. Right now, our kitchen team juggles 4 breakfast shifts, 2 lunch shifts, and 4-5 dinners shifts every day. Arguably, Springs Rescue Mission’s kitchen is one of the busiest in town!
A Record-Breaking Month in Our Resource Center
In January, a record-setting daily average of 126 people visited our resource center for services. During the coldest days, we welcomed up to 160 people out of the cold to take hot showers, use our laundry facilities and meet with a client navigator for case management.
Guests took 1,930 hot and refreshing showers. Additionally, they washed 765 loads of laundry, the highest monthly count since our laundry room opened last September. Although we can easily take clean laundry and hot showers for granted, these services really help restore our guests’ dignity and confidence.
Nearly 870 one-on-one case management and partner agency connections were made throughout the month. This includes connections with our newest partner: Colorado Department of Corrections Re-Entry and Parole. They join 12 other partner agencies with permanent office space in our resource center, saving our guests hours of travel time every week as they seek crucial housing, health and employment services.
Highlights From Around the Mission
In January, Johnny completed the final stage of our New Life Program, joining the ranks of 11 other men who’ve graduated since last July. Many others are close to completing our 12-month, residential addiction recovery program and are looking forward to graduating in the weeks and months ahead.
Our Supportive Family Services team was busy throughout the month, serving 706 families with 900 food boxes, 5,600 lbs. of clothing and 28 furniture deliveries to help families get settled in their new home. Since July, we’ve served 2,656 families and distributed over $3.5 million of food, clothing, household goods and furniture to help provide financial stability for families in need.
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