DENVER (CBS4) – A judge ruled last month that since Denver’s shelters are inadequate, an urban camping ban violated the constitutional rights of homeless in the city. Meanwhile, the Denver Rescue Mission received more than $2 million worth of grant from the city for renovations and expanded services during the day.
“We’re very thankful,” explained Josh Geppelt, the VP of Programs at the Denver Rescue Mission. “We do a lot of relationship building and trying to help people access the different resources in our community and get them moving towards housing as quickly as possible.”
Geppelt told CBS4 the total allotment of money granted was around $2.3 million to help them keep up with growing demand. When its Community Center on Lawrence Street opened in 2017, they designed the facility to see 300-400 people a day.
“We average about a 1,000 people a day,” Geppelt said. “So slowly over the years we have tried to staff up to catch up to that demand and this will allow us to take a huge bite in improving the quality of our services.”
Part of the money will go toward hiring more employees to focus on day-to-day operations like intake and referrals.
“It will hopefully allow us to increase the depth of services that we are able to offer,” Geppelt said.
The money will also help with building updates. The main goal, is to make the shelter ADA accessible.
“If they are using a wheelchair, there is no way to get into this building,” Geppelt said. “There are four stairs to get in, and for some of our patrons that feels like a hundred.”
Geppelt said a ramp will be built from the north side of the building to help people get inside, and an elevator will be installed to ensure access to all stories of the building.