Charmaine Shark Barros grew up in Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood before the ballpark was even there. Now 64, she said skyrocketing rents have forced her to move. “I can’t live in my community anymore because it’s too expensive,” said Barros, who now lives in Park Hill. “The people that are homeless in this area are homeless because of gentrification.” It’s stories like this that prompted Denver’s Road Home, an organization focused on ending homelessness in Denver, to begin a series of community input sessions called “The Way Home.” Created in 2005, the organization is nearing the end of its 10-year mandate and will use the series to determine its next plan to address homelessness.
“As we move forward, we know we need to rethink our approach,” said Bennie Milliner, executive director of Denver’s Road Home. “This gives us good check-in points and allows us to pivot if necessary.”About 100 people attended the first session Saturday morning near Walnut and 26th streets, where a private owner donated use of a building being renovated.
The session opened with statements from Councilwoman Judy Montero, Denver Police Commander Tony Lopez, state historian William Convery and Mayor Michael Hancock.”We recognize that we can’t do this without community partners coming together,” Hancock said. “We know we still have a lot of work to do.”Milliner then detailed the progress Denver’s Road Home has made in 10 years and outlined major areas of focus moving forward: housing and facility needs, vocational training, family services and 24-hour drop-in centers. The rest of the session was dedicated to community input, which took the form of breakout sessions and a real-time survey using electronic clickers. About 70 people chimed in on the biggest issues facing Denver’s homeless right now.Most immediately, community members said they want to see improvements in housing and emergency shelters as well as behavioral and health services. More than half said they feel the existing services in the neighborhood are inadequate.One such voice was Arnie Carter, 57, who has lived in Denver most of his life. He volunteers at homeless shelters and said he houses some of the people in … – Click Here To Visit Article Source