DENVER (CBS4) – It’s called Miracle on Marion Street. Open Door Ministries has turned five former houses of prostitution on Marion Street in Denver into women’s shelters.
The ministry began helping homeless women two decades ago. But, it is in need of help itself now.
All of the transitional homes are in turn-of-the-century buildings. The latest renovation turned up a big surprise expense.
“We’ll have to bring in a brand new, two inch water pipe from the street,” said Executive Director David Warren.
He says they need to come up with $40,000 for a new water pipe and indoor sprinkler system. “Just looking for people in community care come along beside us because can’t do ourselves.”
Lena Greenfield knows first hand what Open Door Ministries does.
“I came here in 2002 fleeing homelessness myself.”
Homeless and a drug addict, she came here after losing custody of her daughter and hitting rock bottom.
“It really was an eye opener that I was leading her down the same path that I was lead down by my mom. I didn’t want that. I wanted her story to be different. I wanted to rewrite her story.”
Fast forward 17 years, Greenfield is now director of Open Door Ministries latest women’s shelter.
“I just felt like I wanted to give back what was given to me,” she said.
The new shelter will help women not helped by the other the transitional homes. While they require a two year commitment, at the new shelter it will be just three months.
“Here we get to meet them truly where they’re at. We get to go to the treatment centers, we get to go to detox, to jail. If someone just comes up and needs somewhere to stay, we’ll be able to do the interview and that excites me a lot.”
Greenfield says as part of the women’s stay, they will be required to volunteer and give back to some of the organizations that have helped them. But she says it’s not just about the women. Her daughter followed in her footsteps after all.
“She works with at risk youth now, someone she could been if (the ministry) hadn’t came and broken the cycle in her life.”
The Ministry is hoping to open the new shelter before winter. There will be space for 18 women. The shelter will be called Te Veo House, Spanish for “I see you.”
“Sometimes when people are on the streets and cars are just going go by and people are walking by, they feel like they’re invisible,” said Warren. “They feel like nobody cares and nobody has seen me and we want them to know that’s not true. That’s not the end of their story. We see them and this is a place where they are welcome and can have a home.”