By Jeff Todd

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – In an area in desperate need of services, a new kind of navigation center for the unhoused has opened along West Colfax. RecoveryWorks is a unique idea hoping to connect services with the most vulnerable people.

“We just felt like there was an opportunity because Jefferson County’s strategic plan is really trying to build an infrastructure in a comprehensive way,” said James Ginsburg, the Executive Director of RecoveryWorks.

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(credit: CBS)

“It’s a mission to provide resources, recovery and respite for folks all over Colorado.”

Soon, about a dozen rooms on the second floor of the building will allow people leaving the hospital to get extra care.

“Coming out of the hospital, they have no place to go. Instead of returning to the street they can come here. They’ll have their own room, but we can take care of them,” Ginsburg said. “Maybe they have open wounds or have had a serious injury or an acute illness and just have no place to recuperate.”

The center’s main mission is to offer services for people on a brief visit either showering, doing some laundry, getting signed up for a housing list, or using the internet. Counseling in one-on-one and a group setting is also available.

“Just getting cleaned up, getting prepared for employment. We really try to create community. We believe people can recover from trauma, from homelessness, and from substance misuse,” Ginsburg said.

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The center, near Colfax Avenue and Reed Street, has only been open a few weeks, but is already making a big impact.

“I learned about it on the streets, through other people on the street. They have some great food here. They don’t actually mind cooking for you,” said Regina Legron who has been living on the street with her husband for a few years.

(credit: CBS)

Legron says she was a victim of identity theft that unraveled a lengthy trail of bad luck. She works most days as a flagger directing traffic around construction sites. When she and her partner have enough money, they get a motel room for a night. Lately she’s been taking advantage of the simple benefits at RecoveryWorks.

“It’s not really a place to hangout but it is a place to get out of the heat if you need a little refreshment,” she said. “Smaller facilities like this in every city would be great. Even if there’s one.”

Ginsberg has been working around homeless issues for more than 30 years. He says RecoveryWorks is bits and pieces of best practices he’s found. With willing partners around the county like The Action Center, Jefferson Center for Mental Health and Stride Community Health, RecoveryWorks brought services together in a new format to help the community.

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“Jefferson County is really trying to move the ball in terms of really addressing homelessness at its roots. They’re both doing the long-term structural changes, but they’re also supporting people like us that can be light on our feet,” Ginsburg said. “We’re a resource for the entire community.”

Jeff Todd