DENVER (CBS4) – CBS4 has partnered with the Denver Rescue Mission to bring the Colorado community together to Spread the Warmth this winter. During the winter months, the Rescue Mission sees an uptick in people needing help, and donations are traditionally down after the holidays. Spread the Warmth is an opportunity for the entire community to help the Rescue Mission bridge the gap in winter services.

Among three facilities, Lawrence Street Shelter, the 48th Street Center, and the Holly Center, the Denver Rescue Mission can provide shelter for up to 1,000 people a night. The goal is to get those people on a path to permanent housing, and that starts with the Next Step services. Next Step provides 50-days of shelter, storage, and case management toward coming up with a plan to find housing.

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Rickey Payne moved to Denver after he became homeless during treatment for congestive heart failure.

“I knew I could get medical attention here,” Payne told CBS4.

He’s a Navy veteran and knew he could get medical care at the Veterans Administration Hospital. But, Payne moved here without a plan for housing.

“With the heart problems and everything it scared me, it scared me a lot,” he said.

He was able to get shelter at the Denver Rescue Mission, and then qualified for Next Step services. With the help of a case manager he was able to access more of his veterans benefits, and plan out a path to permanent housing.

“They will help you, if you help yourself,” Payne said.

Now Payne is waiting for an affordable unit to become available. In the meantime, he volunteers at the Rescue Mission.

(credit CBS)

“Just whatever needed to be done, I did it,” he explained.

He sorts through and makes sure that donations to the Lawrence Street Center get put on the truck to the warehouse. Donations of money and goods are the life blood of an organization like the Denver Rescue Mission.

“It’s very, very needed…the donations,” Payne said. “It means that they’re not going to be hungry, it means they’re going to have clothes on their backs, it means they’re going to have a warm coat. We give away a lot of coats here.”

Payne is among the 598 men who received Next Step services last year. 273 of them moved out of the shelter system.

Find out how to help at CBSDenver.com/SpreadtheWarmth.

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