At Denver Rescue Mission, we believe in coming alongside people experiencing poverty and homelessness, empathizing with their situation and speaking truth into their lives–You are worthy. You are valued. You are created in the image of God. This is what we do. It’s our passion; our calling. And we’ve been doing it, thanks to partners like you, since 1892.
This is the story of how you helped us change lives in 2018. Thank you for being our loyal partners.
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WHO WE SERVE
In 2018, the number one reason the people in our programs said they were experiencing homelessness was because they lost their job.
The number two reason was addiction. They are defined by so much more than their situation. Meet some of the people we serve:
“...the Mission has been kind of a sanctuary for me.”
IMPACT IN 2018
Nights of Shelter
New Life Program
22 children matched with a mentor
152 children completed 3,720
hours of reading and writing club
to successful graduates
Tons of Clothing
76 interns experienced hands-on work at the Mission
162 households moved into permanent housing
People are invited inside, off the street where their immediate needs are met and critical relationships are built with Mission staff.
Men living with an addiction are equipped with work readiness skills, receive help to overcome destructive habits, find permanent housing, and begin a new life.
Families and individuals in need receive case management, develop life skills and save for permanent housing.
People struggling in our community receive assistance with food, clothing, furniture, household items, and holiday meals.
Every time the welfare check showed up, Donald’s stepfather was the first to take it, using it for drugs. As soon as he was able, Donald left that environment and joined the military. He found success there, but his success was tainted with a lifestyle he knew all too well, from his stepfather. While in the military, Donald began using drugs. After being honorably discharged, he moved back home with his mom. And just six months later, his mom died. Her death wrecked Donald’s world and he turned to the only other “comfort” he knew—drugs.
From 1985 to April of 2018, Donald’s substance abuse was so rampant that he spent much of that time homeless. Then, on April 15, Donald decided to change. As a veteran, he knew he had access to several services, so he began calling around. But everywhere he called had a waiting list. “I didn’t have anywhere to wait,” says Donald. “I was on the street.”
Six days later, Donald found Next Step, a service we provide for men staying in our emergency shelters. Each member of Next Step is assigned a case worker and a permanent bed. Members work with their case worker to prepare a plan tailored toward permanent and sustainable living situations. For Donald, he and his case worker located a Veteran Affairs program that will provide him with affordable housing. “I should be accepted into the program within a few months,” says Donald. “For now, I’m just thankful for Denver Rescue Mission. I’m here in Next Step working with my case worker, working a full-time job and saving money.” Donald has also been working on one more thing, too, his sobriety. “I’ve been sober for over four months!”
Last year, 686 of our downtown Denver guests chose to enroll in a Mission program or service.
The Houston's Story
Last summer, Wayne and Jeanette got married. Wayne was a single dad of five daughters. He was forced to raise them on his own, because, one day, unexpectedly, his first wife left. Jeanette was a single mom to one daughter when she and Wayne met. After they got married, they moved into an apartment together. They paid about $1,200 a month for rent at the time. But then, Wayne lost his job because work was slow and cuts had to be made. Without a steady income, Wayne and Jeanette couldn’t afford rent and the family of eight lost their home. Wayne, Jeanette and their six daughters were homeless for nearly two years.
One day, after her mom told her about Denver Rescue Mission, Jeanette decided to call. Shortly after, Jeanette, Wayne and their daughters were accepted into our STAR Transitional Program and started living at The Crossing.
“STAR is teaching us to develop better habits,” says Jeanette. Wayne and Jeanette have almost reached their goal, to save up $1,000 in an emergency fund. And they are well on their way to achieving their next target—renting an apartment to call home.
They are also parents of one more child, Alexcia. She’s the first biological child that they’ve had together. “She’s special to us—but all our kids are special to us—we’re a family,” says Jeanette.
In 2018, 22 families and individuals found permanent housing through our STAR Transitional Program.
When he was 15 years old, Nelson was addicted to alcohol. Most days, he would carry a thermos full of vodka with him to school and sip on it throughout the day. After high school, he joined the military and became a dad. But his old habits, drinking and violence, would lead him to prison, twice—once at the age of 30 and again at 50. For nearly 30 years, “addict” became Nelson’s identity. In the spring of 2018, Nelson was released from his second stint in prison. As he stood there, alone, some 50 feet from the exit doors of the federal prison, something happened. “I just decided I wanted to change my life,” says Nelson.
And with that decision, he moved to Denver, Colorado. He heard about Denver Rescue Mission and was accepted into our New Life Program. As Nelson worked with our counselors and chaplains, the question he wrestled with the most became evident, “Who am I?” “Apart from being an addict, who is Nelson?”
While in the program, Nelson has been connecting with his past experiences, exploring them and beginning to realize that his identity is in something greater than alcohol. “In the New Life Program, I’ve found my identity in Christ,” says Nelson. “There used to be this gap. It was right in the center of my chest. I tried filling it with drugs and alcohol. But now, that gap is filled with God.” Nelson’s passion is painting; he’s still navigating his recovery. “I’ve found my purpose,” says Nelson. “I finally feel like I belong. And I don’t feel worthless anymore.”
One year after graduation, 91% of New Life Program graduates maintain their housing.*
Experiencing homelessness is hard. And, during the holidays, it’s even harder. For many of our guests, the Mission’s Community Outreach events are the only celebrations they receive.
Whether it’s our Thanksgiving Turkey Drive, our Thanksgiving Banquet-in-a-Box event at the Denver Broncos Stadium at Mile High, our Broncos Holiday Party at The Crossing, or our Easter Banquet (and there’s so much more), our Community Outreach efforts go beyond the buildings of Denver Rescue Mission and into the city, helping families and individuals who need it. This past year, while at the Thanksgiving Banquet-in-a-Box event, we asked Beatrice about her experience. “We had $50 left in our bank account after buying groceries. Now, we’ll have a Thanksgiving. This is a tremendous help!”
Because of you, we gave 13,120 turkeys to organizations, individuals and families throughout Colorado.
STORIES OF US
Donors in 2018
17,822 total volunteers
118,858 volunteer hours
Denver Rescue Mission is a member of the Better Business Bureau and the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance recommends giving to organizations who spend at least 65% of their total expenses on program activities. In fiscal year 2017- 2018, 80% of our expenses were in programs.
Download our audited financial statement at DenverRescueMission.org/Financial-Accountability.
It’s a new day at the Mission, a new time with different challenges, and we are changing to more effectively and compassionately serve Denver’s homeless.
In 2018, Denver Rescue Mission engaged in a strategic planning process with the goal of improving our programs and services. As part of that process, below are three of 16 initiatives that support our goal to continue meeting the ever-changing needs of the people who come to us for help.
Update New Life Program Best Practices
Already in progress, this initiative is seeking to ensure that the men in our New Life Program are being provided with the best avenues to develop life skills, find a sustainable job, form positive relationships, and ultimately, move into permanent, sustainable housing.
Prioritize Clients’ Next Steps Out Of Shelter
Also in progress, this initiative aims to help men who utilize our emergency shelters, encouraging them to join our Next Step service, informing them of long-term programs, job opportunities and housing services, and providing resources that will help them get off the street.
Restructure Family Programs
The most vulnerable demographic we serve is families. And because of that, we’re equipping our staff to serve families and individuals in more dynamic ways. We’ll focus our efforts on providing a path home for families experiencing homelessness. To do this, we’ve begun to restructure our Family Programs, which consist of the STAR Transitional Program, Family Rescue Ministry and Family Refugee Services.
Our supporters mean the world to us.
Many have been with us for years and others just learned of our work in 2018.
We’re thankful for all of you, because without you, we wouldn’t exist.
This year marks our 127th year of serving people (that’s a lot of years!). In my time as the President/CEO, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that God is in control, and I pray that He uses us as a vehicle for His grace and mercy upon the people we serve. As an organization, we’ve learned that people experiencing homelessness have needs that are ever-changing. Of course, there are some basics needs that will forever remain the same—food, shelter and safety. But as factors such as Denver’s housing market, the nationwide opioid epidemic and family homelessness become more complex, the faces of homelessness are beginning to change, and so too do the needs.
That’s why, in 2018, we invested a lot of prayer and collaboration to better evaluate and improve our Mission programs and services. We are calling it our strategic planning process, and this year, we started implementing our plan!
It’s a new and exciting day at Denver Rescue Mission. Whether it be the men who sleep at our three emergency shelters, the people who use the Lawrence Street Community Center every day, or the men, women and families who live at The Crossing, your gifts are providing a path home for the people we serve.
More than anything, this annual report tells our story in 2018, and that story has been written because you took the time to give, volunteer, pray, and share the work that we do. And that work is not possible without you.
Thank you for being a part of our story and for making it possible for the people we serve to find a path home. Thank you for supporting our mission in 2018!